'You're at odds with the Home Sec': Ferrari clashes with top cop over taking the knee

24 May 2022, 09:19 | Updated: 24 May 2022, 10:00

By Daisy Stephens

Nick Ferrari has clashed with a police chief over whether officers should take the knee in support of Black Lives Matter.

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Sir Dave Thompson, vice chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council and the Senior Responsible Officer for the new Police Race Action Plan, said the police was not "here to align or affiliate with a particular movement" but said officers could take the knee if the situation was appropriate and they were not politically motivated to do so.

His response put him at odds with the Home Secretary, who last year told LBC she did not agree with taking the knee and described the Black Lives Matter protests as "dreadful".

"We're here to improve and to look at policing," said Sir Dave, who is also the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, when Nick asked if police officers should take the knee.

We're not here to alight or affiliate with a particular movement, that's not what we're about."

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"So they shouldn't take the knee?" Clarified Nick.

"The position I took in the West Midlands is that people have to judge what was right at the specific moment... we left it to officer discretion at the time, but it's not currently a thing that I think is going on in policing," he said.

"I'm not setting the rules because it's not a topical issue at the moment, actually."

Nick said: "You are Chief Constable.

"With respect, Sir, you are setting the rules for your own force."

Taking the knee became a symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement
Taking the knee became a symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: Getty

"Our position is really clear," said Sir Dave.

"You're there to do a policing role and perform a policing activity, that has to be first and foremost."

However he said "in the community context" police officers have other responsibilities as well and should "make a judgement" about whether it was appropriate.

"So in some instances, Sir Dave, you would condone your officers taking the knee still?" Challenged Nick.

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Sir Dave said: "If it was in keeping with the environment and the event they were at, and they [didn't] seem to be acting politically... yes."

"Which puts you totally at odds with the home secretary," said Nick.

"Is that a problem?"

"I understand people have different views and thats fine," said the Chief Constable.

"The Race Action Plan... is broader and wider than this one issue."

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