London, UK: The Sikh Federation (UK) representatives lead a Sikh Community delegation inc Sikh Council UK and other Sikh Orgs, that attended a meeting held on Wednesday 28 October at New Scotland Yard with the Police Commander Mac Chishty and Silver Commander Chief Superintendent Colin Morgan, to discuss the Sikh Lives Matter protest at the Indian High Commission on Thurs 22 Oct. Sikhs had traveled from all across the country and there was healthy balance of both elders and youth. All who spoke did so eloquently, articulately and with a view to a positive outcome.
Jas Singh, adviser to the Sikh Federation (UK) expressed the communities concerns and asked very relevant and pertinent questions for the MPS’s Policing strategy and conduct. A key demand was an unreserved and unconditional apology for the insult and offence caused by the disrespect shown to the Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag), Kirpan and Turbans by Officers.
We welcome this video apology from MPS Commander Mac Chishty and will be following up on a number of important issues in the coming days and weeks.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT AND APOLOGY FROM THE METROPOLITAN POLICE SERVICE REGARDS SIKH LIVES MATTER PROTEST
I would like to thank representatives of our Sikh communities who kindly attended a meeting at New Scotland Yard that I invited them to on Wednesday the 28th October.
I requested a meeting with the Sikh Community as I had become aware of growing concerns over the policing of the protest at the Indian High Commission on Thursday 22nd October 2015
I believe we have a great and long standing relationship with our Sikh Community with mutual trust, confidence and respect being built over many years. This enabled us to meet and discuss a number of concerns in an open, honest and constructive way. I am grateful to the Sikh community for meeting with me and enabling a better understanding on both of our parts
There are a number of key issues that have been identified which will be taken forward but I feel immediately I must address 2 key points:
An incident occurred where a Met police officer is seen to take a ‘Nishan Sahib’, a sacred flag, from a protestor, snap the stick and throw it to the floor. This is deeply disrespectful to the Sikh community and is not acceptable. I understand the distress and hurt that has been caused and I sincerely apologise to our Sikh community for this.
We will learn from this and a specific briefing point for all officers deployed on future protests of this type will include the significance of the ‘Nishan Sahib’.
I am also aware that Kirpans were removed from two people once they had been arrested. This was against the direction of the senior officer present, who immediately apologised during the protest. I would also like to offer my sincere apologies for this and once again this be a briefing point for all future protests.
I would like to reassure the Sikh community that no disrespect or offence was intended and apologise for any distress, hurt or offence that has been caused.