Sunak says pro-Palestine protests must be ‘policed, not just managed’

Britain’s biggest police force needs to “not just manage” pro-Palestinian protests, but also “police them”, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

Mr Sunak said he was “shocked” to see footage of antisemitism campaigner Gideon Falter being threatened with arrest at a pro-Palestine demonstration in central London.

Mr Sunak reiterated his demand that the head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Mark Rowley, should work to rebuild the confidence and trust of the Jewish community and the wider public.

Speaking to journalists travelling with him to Poland on Tuesday, Mr Sunak said: “I was shocked to see that footage over the weekend, as I’m sure many people were.

“That’s why when I was asked yesterday I was very clear that the police have got to not just manage these protests, they’ve got to police them.

“That’s a point I made when I spoke from the steps of Downing Street about this, I think last month.

“People are seeing scenes like that that they don’t understand, they don’t think are acceptable and that they think undermine the values that are important to us as a country and society.

“My expectation is that the Met Commissioner regains the trust and confidence of the Jewish community and the public more broadly when it comes to how these protests are being policed and not just managed.”

Sir Mark has defended the way officers handled the incident, describing their actions as “professional”.

He said some of the words exchanged during the incident on April 13 were “clumsy and offensive”, but the officers involved would not be sanctioned.

Mr Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), was threatened with arrest for breaching the peace by the officers policing the protest in central London, with one describing Mr Falter, who was wearing a kippah, as “openly Jewish”.

The incident led to calls for Sir Mark to resign, from Mr Falter and former home secretary Suella Braverman.