Khan vs Dick: London Mayor Slams Met Police Chief for Breaking Social Distancing Rules

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 03: Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service arrives at Southwark Cathedral to attend the first anniversary of the London Bridge terror attack on June 3, 2018 in London, England. The anniversary will be marked by a service at Southwark Cathedral to honour the emergency …
Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Mayor Sadiq Khan joined the wave of criticism against Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick after a publicity stunt that flew in the face of rules against public gatherings during the coronavirus lockdown.

Khan said that he was “concerned” that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police failed to observe the social distancing rules after the police and others massed on London’s Westminster Bridge to “clap for carers” on Thursday.

“I am equally concerned that the social distancing rules don’t seem to have been observed,” Khan told LBC radio in comments reported by the Daily Mail.

“I’ve got no confirmation of this, but I suspect the Met Police Service and the London Ambulance Service whose people were there will be asking the sort of questions that you, not unreasonably, are asking,” he added.

“I think both the MPS and the LAS will be asking questions about social distancing guidelines not being observed.”

The incident was caught on camera and shared on social media by Damir Rafi, a junior doctor at St Thomas’ hospital, who said: “I’m a doctor working at the hospital that’s right there. And yes, I was also somewhat perplexed by the lack of social distancing.”

In the video, police, emergency workers, members of the public, and Commissioner Dick are all seen gathering closely together for the publicity stunt, in clear violation of the lockdown measures introduced by the government to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The police chief was roundly criticised on social media for the event, with some calling her the “worst commissioner of all time”.

“This is what happens when you put someone in who’s more interested in being woke than actually policing. She should resign,” wrote one user.

“Cressida dick organized a mass gathering on Westminster bridge. She broke the rules will someone arrest her?” queried another user.

“Will Cressida Dick be given a fine for failing to follow social distancing?” another questioned.

Between March 27th and April 13th, police across England issued some 3,203 fines to members of the public for allegedly breaking the rules of the national lockdown, and have been observed cracking down on individuals and couples for sitting down on beaches and in parks, socially distanced from others.

In response to the intense backlash, London Metropolitan Police said: “The Commissioner, along with many other emergency services workers, participated in clapping for key workers last night.”

“A large number of members of the public also gathered to express their gratitude. While many people adhered to social distancing guidance, it appears that some did not. We regularly remind our officers of the importance of social distancing where practical, and will continue do so.”

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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