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UK defence chief doubts Russia wants war with NATO as he marks D-Day anniversary | UK News

Russia’s Vladimir Putin does not want a direct war with NATO and he does not want a nuclear war, the head of the UK armed forces has said.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin also signaled that Moscow and Beijing lack the military proficiency” to defeat the kind of barrage of drones and missiles that the United States and its allies destroyed in April when Iran attempted to attack Israel.

In an interview to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings of the Second World War, the Chief of the Defence Staff sought to strike a reassuring tone that a third global conflict was not imminent, despite things becoming what he described as “a bit more dangerous”.

But Admiral Radakin said he believed the British public would again rise to the challenge should there ever be another existential threat like the one once posed by Nazi Germany.

“Absolutely! I think our nation has got that pride, it has got that commitment,” he said.

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The admiral – who was unable to answer specific questions on UK defence issues because of the general election campaign – was speaking in front of the original map that was used to help plan “Operation Overlord”, the codename for the allied invasion of occupied France.

It covers the entire wall of a room at Southwick House, near Portsmouth, where US General Dwight Eisenhower, along with Britain’s General Bernard Montgomery and Admiral Bertram Ramsay, agreed on the ultimate timing for D-Day on 6 June 1944 – after a 24-hour delay because of bad weather.

General Eisenhower “got to the point, apparently with the rain lashing against the windows here, and he said: ‘Ok let’s go’,” Admiral Radakin said.

In what remains the biggest ever seaborn attack, some 150,000 soldiers landed on the Normandy beaches on the first day, backed by 7,000 ships and more than 2,000 aircraft.

“What we can learn from it is that when nations come together, you can do amazing things,” the UK defence chief said.

President Biden has recently permitted Ukraine’s armed forces to use US-supplied weapons on targets inside Russia that are near the Kharkiv region.
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President Biden has recently permitted Ukraine’s armed forces to use US-supplied weapons on targets inside Russia. Pic: AP

While not at the same level, he drew similarities between allied action against the Nazis and how western nations are rallying to help Ukraine fight Russia‘s invasion today.

It’s a war of economies. It’s a war of logistics. It’s a war of industrial production. it’s a war of, political will,” he said.

“It is all of those things for the simplicity of bringing peace back to the people of Ukraine.”

Admiral Radakin, who is known for having an optimistic outlook, insisted that Russia is “failing” in Ukraine even as Russian forces have launched a new invasion into the northeast region of Kharkiv, where they have recaptured territory as Ukrainian troops suffer from a shortage in ammunition and manpower.

“Russia is making tactical advances on land,” the head of the UK military said.

“But you’ve got to then step back a little. If you go back to March 2022, Russia had taken about 17% of Ukraine’s territory. Today it’s got 11%. So Russia is still in deficit.”

Asked whether he was confident that Ukraine would prevail, Admiral Radakin said: “I’m, hugely confident…

“By the end of June, Russia will have lost 500,000 people – killed and wounded. We are already past 800 days for a war that Putin anticipated to be three days long. This is tough for Ukraine, but we have to maintain our support.”

Admiral Radakin was speaking before the US and other allies publicly backed Ukraine using western weapons to strike military targets inside Russia – a move that has escalated tensions even further between the West and Moscow.

However, he sounded very confident that the Kremlin was not looking for direct confrontation with members of the NATO alliance.

Pic: AP
Image:
Pic: AP

“Putin does not want a war with NATO. Putin does not want a nuclear war. And we have enormous overmatch because of the strength of NATO.”

As for the potential for an imminent third world war, the military chief was also sanguine: “The world has got a bit more dangerous. But we should be reassured by all that we’ve got in place.”

Read more:
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He spoke about a moment in April when the US, the UK and other allies mobilized in support of the Israeli military to avert a wider Middle East war after Iran decided to launch a major strike against Israel in retaliation for an Israeli attack against an Iranian facility in Syria.

Admiral Radakin said the Iranian regime launched more than 100 ballistic missiles, nearly 200 drones and tens of cruise missiles – which were defeated.

“If I look at that and I compare that to other big events militarily, then actually only the US, with its allies, I think have got that ability,” he said.

“I don’t think our potential adversaries would have been able to respond in the way that you saw on the evening of 13 April.”

Asked specifically if Moscow or Beijing could have done it, he said: “I think the US leadership and the proficiency that we have with our allies is at a level above our potential foes.”

Police Scotland’s chief constable: SNP finance probe heading to prosecutors ‘within weeks’ | UK News

The police investigation involving Nicola Sturgeon’s husband is “moving on” with prosecutors to receive a file within weeks, Scotland’s most senior officer has told Sky News.

The former first minister and SNP leader’s spouse, Peter Murrell, has been charged in connection with embezzlement of party funds.

In her first interviews since taking on the UK’s second biggest police force, Chief Constable Jo Farrell insisted her officers are “objective” but refused to be drawn on whether the long-running probe will end imminently.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Branchform, was launched in July 2021 after officers received complaints about how SNP donations were used.

There were questions about more than £660,000 raised for a second Scottish independence referendum campaign.

Peter Murrell
Image:
Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell, who were both arrested as part of Police Scotland’s Operation Branchform. Pic: PA

Police Scotland has said Nicola Sturgeon remains under investigation after she was arrested and released without charge in 2023.

The SNP’s former treasurer, Colin Beattie, was also detained for almost 12 hours for questioning in spring last year.

The 72-year-old has told Sky News he had heard “nothing at all” from police recently.

Murrell, 59, was chief executive of the SNP for two decades.

He quit the role weeks before his arrest and resigned his SNP membership in the wake of his police charge.

The probe has involved detectives seizing a £100,000 motorhome from outside the home of one of Murrell’s elderly relatives.

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Officers concluded in April there is sufficient evidence to charge Murrell in connection with embezzlement of party funds.

The next stage is for Scotland’s prosecution service, the Crown Office, to receive a report on the case from police and decide whether to proceed to court.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “All (of) Scotland’s prosecutors act independently of political interference.

“As is routine, to protect the integrity of ongoing investigations, we do not comment in detail on their conduct.”

Chief Con Farrell was questioned by Sky News about why the investigation was taking so long to conclude.

Jo Farrell, Police Scotland's chief constable
Image:
Chief Constable Jo Farrell described the investigation as ‘complex’

She said: “It’s a live investigation, complex investigation and the matter has been progressed, and we expect the report to go to the Crown Office in a matter of weeks.”

Asked about this probe continuing in a general election year, she said: “We’ve investigated allegations. That’s moving on.

“We have very skilled, professional, objective individuals working on that case.”

The senior officer refused to say when the SNP probe would be fully concluded or whether other individuals would face further questions.

“I’m not going to make a commentary on the length of it. One person’s been charged, the report will go to the Crown Office and it’s a live investigation,” she said.

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Man dies in Glasgow hospital after two jet-skis crash

Ms Sturgeon unexpectedly announced her resignation as SNP leader and first minister of Scotland months before police arrested her and her husband.

She has always insisted the probe never played any part in her sudden departure from office.

British Olympic Association chief criticises move to give prize money to track and field gold medallists | UK News

A decision by athletics bosses to pay Olympic gold medallists was inappropriate and has created problems with other sports, Team GB’s boss has told Sky News.

Last week’s announcement by World Athletics president Lord Sebastian Coe was a surprise because sports have never awarded prize money in the 128-year history of the Olympics.

Gold medallists in track and field will earn $50,000 (around £39,400) in Paris this summer before silver and bronze winners are also paid from Los Angeles 2028.

The decision stunned the British Olympic Association, which Lord Coe chaired until 2016.

“What wasn’t great about the announcement last week is when one sport goes off and does something on their own, doesn’t include the sports, doesn’t include the IOC, doesn’t include the National Olympic Committees,” BOA chief executive Andy Anson told Sky News.

“They create a problem because now other sports are clearly going to get some scrutiny or even pressure from athletes saying, ‘Well what about us? How can this sport do it and not others?’.

“I don’t think it’s particularly appropriate or helpful for one sport just to announce that.”

The International Olympic Committee was only informed by World Athletics just before the announcement last Wednesday and not consulted by Lord Coe.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe at the 2023 World Athletics Championships. Pic: Reuters
Image:
World Athletics president Lord Sebastian Coe. Pic: Reuters

Read more:
$50,000 for a gold – athletics becomes first sport to offer prize money to Olympians

Mr Anson warned of the risks of creating a divide between sports and said it “seems even worse” athletics was only initially paying out to Olympic champions.

“We’ve got to look at it holistically and make sure that we don’t create a two tier system,” he said.

Team GB is targeting a top-five finish on the medals table, having ranked in the top four at every Summer Olympics since 2008.

Mr Anson said: I know there’s all these political issues knocking around.

“But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that in 100 days, we’ve got the most exciting Olympic Games happening on our doorstep, in the most beautiful city, with the most beautiful venues, with hundreds of thousands of Team GB fans crossing the Channel to go and support our team.

“And I want everyone to feel the excitement because in this building we’re ready to go. We’re prepared.”

Mr Anson was speaking in an interview to mark 100 days – today – until the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics, which is being staged in an unprecedented manner down the River Seine.

Group of athletes at the track ready to run. Pic: iStock
Image:
Pic: iStock

But French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged for the first time this week that the show might be restored to the traditional stadium setting if the security threat is deemed too great.

I’m clearly concerned,” Mr Anson said. “It’s one of the most important things that we have to manage from a risk perspective.

“We’d be naive if we weren’t thinking about that. Our number one priority is to keep all our athletes, our broader entourage and our fans safe.”

He said the opening ceremony “is a high risk environment and that’s got to be managed accordingly, but the French are very, very aware of that”.

The risks are heightened by conflicts in the Middle East and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

But the UK government has ended its opposition to athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus even competing as neutrals in Paris.

Mr Anson said: “The restrictions in terms of no military personnel, no one who supported the conflict publicly… means that you are getting proper neutrality. And I think now it’s time to move on from that debate.”

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Another debate in sport is over transgender eligibility policies and Mr Anson leans towards the government’s view that only those born female should compete in women’s sports.

“We’ve got to protect the women’s category and make sure it’s sacrosanct – and that women are competing fairly on a fair stage,” he said.

“We know that in the broader context, we also have to be sympathetic and embrace diversity and make sure that people feel included and not victimised in any way.”

Team GB is not expecting to have any trans athletes qualify for Paris.

The generally accepted position seems to be, if you have gone through puberty as a male, you have an inherent advantage for the rest of your life,” Mr Anson said.

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A separately challenging issue for Team GB is the potential return to the Olympics for sprinter CJ Ujah following a 22-month drugs ban.

Team GB was stripped of silver in the 4X100 relay at the Tokyo Olympics after he tested positive for traces of ostarine, used to treat muscle wasting, and S-23, which promotes muscle growth.

The 30-year-old has been selected in Britain’s relay squad for the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas in May, opening a path back to the Olympics.

“He let everyone down by what he did in Tokyo, without a doubt,” Mr Anson said.

“So he now needs to go a step further than everyone else in proving that he’s beyond that, that he is actually helping other people address the issues that he created. So yeah, so it doesn’t sit that comfortably.”

CJ Ujah is back in the fold after serving his ban. Pic: PA
Image:
CJ Ujah. Pic: PA

But Team GB is unable to punish an athlete twice for the same offence.

“We have to accept that if he’s nominated, he’ll be part of the team,” Mr Anson said. “But we’ll make sure that we impress on him that he needs to help others avoid the pitfalls that he created for himself and others in Tokyo.”

Ex-Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells to give evidence at inquiry into Horizon IT scandal | Business News

Former Post Office boss Paula Vennells will give evidence to the next phase of the inquiry into the Horizon IT scandal.

She served as chief executive from 2012 to 2019, and has faced questions about why hundreds of subpostmasters were wrongly convicted of fraud and false accounting under her watch.

Scrutiny grew after she was depicted in the ITV drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office – and she gave back her CBE after the programme sparked public anger.

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‘How do you feel about ruining people’s lives?’

When she returned her honour, Ms Vennells had said: “I have so far maintained my silence as I considered it inappropriate to comment publicly while the inquiry remains ongoing and before I have provided my oral evidence.

“I now intend to continue to focus on assisting the inquiry and will not make any further public comment until it has concluded.”

Alan Bates, a former subpostmaster who has led the campaign for justice, will also be giving evidence to the inquiry when it resumes in April – as well as Lord Arbuthnot, who fought on behalf of subpostmasters during his time as an MP.

Read more:
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Alan Bates to refuse ‘offensive’ compensation offer

More on Post Office Scandal

Lead claimant Alan Bates (centre) speaking outside the High Court in London, after the first judgment was handed down in claims against the Post Office over its computer system. Picture date: 15 March 2019
Image:
Alan Bates (centre) speaks outside the High Court in London in March 2019. Pic: PA

Former business secretary Sir Vince Cable and current Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, who previously served as postal affairs minister, will also testify.

The scandal, which was ongoing from 1999 until 2015, represents one of the largest miscarriages of justice in UK legal history and more than 100 subpostmasters have had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal.

Many more are yet to be cleared and the government has come under fire for the compensation awarded to victims.

Glitches in the Horizon IT system used by the Post Office meant money looked as if it was missing from many branch accounts when in fact it was not.

XL bully ban comes into force as police chief urges owners to comply with authorities | UK News

It is now a criminal offence to own an XL bully dog in England and Wales without an exemption certificate.

Unregistered pets can be seized and owners fined and prosecuted, with a police chief urging owners of the illegal animals to comply with officers if their dog is taken because their behaviour may influence a court’s decision to have it put down.

Around 40,000 of the large bulldog-type American breed are believed to have been registered before the deadline yesterday, but there may be thousands more without certificates.

National Police Chiefs’ Council dangerous dogs lead, Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Mark Hobrough has urged members of the public to report any XL bully owners not following the rules so officers can assess the animals.

Seized dogs will be taken to kennels before a court decides if they should either be destroyed or deemed not a danger to public safety.

ACC Hobrough said: “I would encourage strongly people to be compliant if that were the situation with their own dogs because one of the very tests that is made about a dog or an owner (in court) is that the dog is not aggressive, but also that the owner is fit and responsible and not aggressive also.

“So if either of those things were not complied with, then there would be no option for a court then but to destroy the dog.”

The recent ban may spark higher demand for kennels and cause “logistical challenges” for officers, ACC Hobrough said, with police forces “actively looking to enhance” the numbers they can hold.

There are 137 dog legislation officers across the country, with at least one in every force.

The total number of XL bullies, estimated by animal groups, has ranged between 50,000 and 100,000, the RSPCA has said.

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Figures show between 2001 and 2021 there were three fatal dog attacks a year, compared with 23 over the two-year period after that, with XL bullies said to be behind many of them.

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Are new XL bully rules enough?

The breed was added to the Dangerous Dogs Act on 31 October last year when restrictions came into force dictating the dogs must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

Breeding, selling or abandoning the dogs also became illegal as of 31 December 2023.

Owners of XL bully dogs in Scotland will also be subject at a later date to the safeguards after the Scottish government replicated legislation in place south of the border.

A decision on whether to add to the list of banned breeds in Northern Ireland would be for locally elected ministers.

People with dangerously out of control dogs can be jailed for up to 14 years and banned from owning animals, and their pets can be put down.

UN agency chief ‘shocked’ as UK and others pause funding over claims staff involved in Hamas attack | World News

The head of the UN refugee agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) has said the decision by nine countries to pause funding for the aid agency is “shocking”.

The suspension of funding by countries including the UK and US followed allegations UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel.

“These decisions threaten our ongoing humanitarian work across the region including and especially in the Gaza Strip,” commissioner general Philippe Lazzarini said.

Follow live: ‘Ironclad’ intel shows UN agency staff links to Hamas

“UNRWA is the primary humanitarian agency in Gaza, with over two million people depending on it for their sheer survival,” Mr Lazzarini said.

“Some 3,000 core staff out of 13,000 in Gaza continue to report to work, giving their communities a lifeline which can collapse anytime now due to lack of funding,” he added.

He suggested UNRWA would be “forced to suspend its humanitarian response” if funding was not reinstated.

In the wake of the allegations, the Foreign Office said it was “temporarily pausing any future funding of UNRWA whilst we review these concerning allegations”.

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Israeli senior adviser says 12 UN members just the ‘tip of the iceberg’

It comes after a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was “documented, clear and ironclad” information showing 12 UNRWA staff members were part of the Hamas force that broke into Israel and killed 1,200 civilians.

Mark Regev said a lot of the information that led to the accusations was shared by Hamas on social media.

“Hamas went live on social media and boasted a lot of the material, so you actually see the faces and the people involved in a lot of the crimes,” he told Sky News.

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Wayne Brown: West Midlands Fire Service chief fire officer found dead at home | UK News

The chief fire officer at West Midlands Fire Service has been found dead at his home amid claims made about his qualifications for the role made on social media.

In a statement from Greg Brackenridge, chairman of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “We are devastated to report that our chief fire officer, Wayne Brown, was this morning found dead at his home address.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious by West Midlands Police.

“All our thoughts and love are with his family, his friends and his colleagues.

“We ask everyone that his family and his colleagues are given time and space at this tragic time.”

West Midlands Police said: “We can confirm that we attended an address in Birmingham this morning where the body of a man in his 50s was sadly found.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and we are liaising with the local coroner.

“A formal identification will take place in due course.”

Allegations about Mr Brown had been made on social media this week, and the fire service had begun an investigation.

A statement from the service said: “We are aware of claims referencing our Chief Fire Officer and West Midlands Fire Service.

“Formal enquiries and processes, in line with our Fire Authority’s constitution, are now ongoing in relation to the matters raised. We will undertake this thoroughly and fairly.

“In the meantime, we will not be commenting further.”

Suella Braverman meets Met chief amid Tory row over protest article | Politics News

Suella Braverman has met the head of the Metropolitan Police to offer the force her “full backing” ahead of controversial pro-Palestine protests taking place this weekend.

On Wednesday, the home secretary wrote an article for The Times newspaper – which was not signed off by Number 10 – attacking the force for “playing favourites” with left wing protesters, and accusing them of “double standards”.

It followed her earlier remarks describing the demonstrations as “hate marches”.

Politics live: Sunak warned to ‘tread carefully’ over Braverman row

Ms Braverman’s comments have ignited a row within the Conservative Party, with some backing the home secretary, while others are calling for her to resign or be sacked.

Opposition parties also accused her of picking a fight with the police, and demanded she be ousted from the Home Office.

Now in an apparent climb down, the minister has met with the head of the force, Sir Mark Rowley, with a source close to Ms Braverman saying she “emphasised her full backing for the police in what will be a complex and challenging situation and expressed confidence that any criminality will be dealt with robustly”.

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‘We can’t enforce taste or decency’

The prime minister has been under increasing pressure to take action over Ms Braverman’s comments about this weekend’s protests that coincide with Armistice Day.

While the pro-Palestinian march is not set to take place until almost two hours after the nation holds a two-minute silence, and is not due to go to past the Cenotaph in Whitehall, some – including the home secretary – have branded the event offensive and inappropriate.

Sir Mark was summoned to Downing Street earlier in the week to discuss policing of the march with Rishi Sunak, who vowed to hold the most senior office in the UK “accountable” for what happens on Saturday.

But, despite airing his own concerns about the protest – calling it “disrespectful” – the prime minister conceded there was “a right to peacefully protest” and the march could go ahead.

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Met Police chief ‘accountable’ over protest

The Met chief stood by his decision to let the protest take place throughout the week, saying the “legal threshold” to stop it on security grounds “had not been met”.

However, despite the statements from both Mr Sunak and Sir Mark, the home secretary took to the papers to express her anger at the force’s actions – and publicly contradict her party leader.

After causing a rift within the Conservatives – brought into sharp focus by WhatsApp messages leaked to Sky News – Ms Braverman now appears to be attempting to smooth over relations with the Met.

A source close to her said: “The home secretary and the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police met this afternoon to discuss the policing of demonstrations to be held tomorrow, on Armistice Day.

“The commissioner outlined plans to continue working to maintain public order, ensure compliance with the law and maintain the safety of participants, police officers and the general public.

“The home secretary emphasised her full backing for the police in what will be a complex and challenging situation and expressed confidence that any criminality will be dealt with robustly.”

Will climbdown be enough to keep Braverman in post?

Rob Powell Political reporter

Rob Powell

Political correspondent

@robpowellnews

While we haven’t yet heard directly from Suella Braverman, the language being used by a source close to the home secretary this evening suggests something of a climbdown and an attempt to make amends with the Metropolitan Police.

After accusing officers of being too lenient with pro-Palestinian protestors earlier this week, we’re now told she has “emphasised her full backing” for the force and “expressed confidence that any criminality will be dealt with robustly”.

That is a marked change in tone from the broadside levelled at the Met just days ago.

So what’s going on?

Downing Street and the broader government machine have made no secret of their unhappiness with the home secretary’s latest intervention.

While the prime minister is said to still have confidence in Ms Braverman, senior ministers have distanced themselves from their colleague and Number 10 has pointedly briefed that it did not sign off the article.

In other words, there was a distinct impression that this time she may have gone too far and, as such, put her job at risk.

Could the threat of being sacked have forced this change in tone? Maybe. But there’s also the practical context to this.

The home secretary’s controversial remarks risked undermining officers and inflaming tension at protests tomorrow. So this could also be a somewhat belated attempt to calm the situation down.

But whether it will be enough to actually keep Suella Braverman in her post remains to be seen.

Earlier on Friday, the Met released details of the “significant” operation it planned to run in London over the weekend to ensure Remembrance services are protected from disruption by both the march and any counter-protests, which some fear may be held by the far right.

The force said more than 2,000 officers will be on the streets, an exclusion zone had been set up around Whitehall – where Sunday’s main Remembrance event will take place – and putting a 24-hour police presence around the Cenotaph.

In a lengthy statement, they added: “We’ll be using an extensive set of powers to prevent any disruption whatsoever to Remembrance events, policing the demonstration as it passes through parts of the capital, while protecting our communities from those intent on inciting hate, violence and disorder.”

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Braverman asked if she will resign

Shortly before news broke of Ms Braverman’s meeting, the prime minister also issued a statement saying he had been “reassured” by the police over their operation that Remembrance services would be protected.

Met Police chief wants law change to tackle extremism in light of ‘jihad’ protest chants – but No 10 has ‘no plans’ | Politics News

The commissioner of the Metropolitan Police says laws for tackling extremism may need to be redrawn in light of pro-Palestinian protests around the Israel-Hamas war.

Sir Mark Rowley said it was for politicians to decide on “the line of the law” and for the police to enforce it.

However, he said recent events were “illustrating that maybe some of the lines aren’t quite in the right place”.

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The commissioner’s remarks came just an hour after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman said there were no plans to make any legislative changes after the protests in recent weeks.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman met with Sir Mark earlier on Monday to challenge him over the decision not to arrest protestors chanting “jihad” in a video of a Hizb ut-Tahrir protest which surfaced over the weekend.

The force posted on social media that specialist counterterrorism officers had not identified any offences arising from the clip.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, a source close to Ms Braverman said “there can be no place for incitement to hatred or violence” on UK streets and police should “crackdown on anyone breaking the law”.

But despite criticism from her and other ministers about the lack of arrest, a Downing Street spokesman said he was “unaware” of any plans to toughen up legislation to aid the police in acting.

Speaking after his meeting with the home secretary, Sir Mark defended officers’ actions, saying the force was “absolutely ruthless in tackling anybody who puts their foot over the legal line”.

But he said the police were “accountable for the law – we can’t enforce taste or decency but we can enforce the law”.

The commissioner said the conversation with Ms Braverman had been “really constructive”, but finished around “the line of the law”.

He added: “It is our job to enforce to that line, it is parliament’s job to draw that line, and… maybe events of the moment are illustrating that maybe some of the lines aren’t quite in the right place”.

Sir Mark pointed to recent reports from the Counter Extremism Commission and the Law Commission “talking about how the law needs to change to be stronger in dealing with extremism”, adding: “I know the home secretary and her colleagues are really charged by that and thinking hard about that.”

But pushed further on what changes he wanted to see, the commissioner said: “The law that we have designed around hate crime and terrorism around recent decades hasn’t taken full account of the ability of extremist groups to steer round those laws and propagate some pretty toxic messages through social media, and those lines probably need redrawing.”

He also said there were “lessons to be learnt” from other forces who had “more assertive” frameworks, but he concluded: “That is for politicians and parliament to draw the line. I am focused on… enforcing the letter of the law.”

Suella Braverman to challenge Met Police chief after man filmed chanting ‘jihad’ during protest | UK News

The home secretary will challenge the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police over the force’s decision not to arrest pro-Palestine protesters calling for a “jihad” against Israel.

Suella Braverman will tell Sir Mark Rowley later “there can be no place for incitement to hatred or violence” on UK streets and police should “crackdown on anyone breaking the law”.

Some ministers have condemned the police for their handling of rallies in London and other cities including Birmingham, Cardiff and Belfast over the weekend in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

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The force said officers had also reviewed a video of a Hizb ut-Tahrir protest showing a man speaking into a microphone in front of a banner reading “Muslim Armies! Rescue the People of Palestine”.

The main speaker asks: “What is the solution to liberate people from the concentration camp called Palestine?”

A man standing to the side of the speaker, but neither on a platform nor speaking into the microphone, can then be heard chanting words including “jihad, jihad”, as can some others attending the rally.

Responding to the post on social media, the Met said specialist counter-terrorism officers had not identified any offences arising from the clip.

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Tensions over London protests

In a statement, the force said: “The word (jihad) has a number of meanings but we know the public will most commonly associate it with terrorism.

“Specialist officers have assessed the video and have not identified any offences arising from the specific clip. We have also sought advice from specialist Crown Prosecution Service lawyers, who have reached the same conclusion.

“However, recognising the way language like this will be interpreted by the public and the divisive impact it will have, officers identified the man involved and spoke to him to discourage any repeat of similar chanting.”

Jihad can mean struggle or effort, but it has also been taken to refer to holy war.

Read more:
Man arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred after London pro-Palestine march

What Hamas’s release of US hostages could mean for Israel’s expected invasion

Sir Mark was already scheduled to meet Ms Braverman later today.

A source close to the home secretary said: “The home secretary is already due to meet the Metropolitan Police commissioner tomorrow (Monday) to discuss the ongoing Israel-Gaza protests and will be asking for an explanation over the response to incidents which took place on Saturday.

“There can be no place for incitement to hatred or violence on Britain’s streets and, as the home secretary has made clear, the police are urged to crack down on anyone breaking the law.”

Earlier, immigration minister Robert Jenrick said people chanting “jihad” on the streets of the capital were “inciting terrorist violence”.

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‘Terror arrests made in UK’, says Jenrick

He told Sky News’ Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: “Chanting ‘jihad’ on the streets of London is completely reprehensible and I never want to see scenes like that. It is inciting terrorist violence and it needs to be tackled with the full force of the law.

“Ultimately, it’s an operational matter for the police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) whether to press charges.”

He added: “Arrests have been made… There have been arrests since the beginning of this situation… There have been arrests under terrorist legislation. And we want to do everything that we can to protect British Jews.

“But this is a broader question beyond just legality. It also is a question about values. And there should be a consensus in this country that chanting things like ‘jihad’ is completely reprehensible and wrong and we don’t ever want to see that in our country.”

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‘From the river to the sea’ explained

Jewish safety organisation the Community Security Trust criticised the Met, saying that “in trying to communicate complex and nuanced legal issues” on social media “they gave the impression of legitimising obnoxious and hateful behaviour that may or may not be criminal but nevertheless causes profound concern to British Jews and many other people”.

In a message on the Hizb ut-Tahrir website, explaining why it decided to hold demonstrations on Saturday outside the Egyptian and Turkish Embassies in London, the group said Palestinians have been subject to “brutal oppression” and called on Egypt and Turkey to unite in “rescuing their Palestinian brothers and sisters”.