'Not Very Helpful': Former Police Chief Slams Rishi Sunak Over 'Mob Rule' Claim

Pro-Palestinian protests have become a regular feature of life in London in recent months.
Pro-Palestinian protests have become a regular feature of life in London in recent months. HENRY NICHOLLS via Getty Images

A former police chief has launched an outspoken attack on Rishi Sunak’s claim that the UK is heading for “mob rule”.

The prime minister said there is a “growing consensus” that Britain is descending into lawlessness as he called on officers to do more to protect democracy.

His comments come on the back of pro-Palestinian protests that have been held in recent months and growing concern over MPs’ safety since the outbreak of the war in Gaza.

But Dal Babu, a former chief superintendent in the Metropolitan Police, criticised the prime minister, and said his remarks could be counter-productive.

He told Radio 4′s Today programme: “Language is important. I don’t think that kind of language is helpful.

“We’ve heard Suella Braverman, the former home secretary, talk about hate marches.

“If you’re going to appeal to people to demonstrate less, you’re actually going to have unintended consequences in which more people come out and say ‘we’re not mob rule’.

“My daughters have been on marches, ordinary people, Jewish people, Muslim people, people of no faith, LGBTQ people, have all been on marches. So this is a wide spectrum of people, so to call these people a mob is not very helpful, particularly when you’re trying to appeal to them to stop marching.”

Speaking to police chiefs yesterday, Sunak said: “We need to demonstrate more broadly to the public that [the police] will use the powers you already have, the laws that you have.

“I am going to do whatever it requires to protect our democracy and our values that we all hold dear.

“That is what the public expect. It is fundamental to our democratic system. And also it is vital for maintaining public confidence in the police.”

But Babu said: This is where operational policing is key to this and I’m afraid politicians don’t understand operational policing and need to stay out of it. It is for the police officers to make those decisions.”