Last updated on October 13th, 2023 at 10:11 amReading Time: 3 minutes
Right Hon Suella Braverman MP KC, Home Secretary
Sir Mark Rowley QPM, Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis.
Dear Mrs Braverman and Sir Mark,
I believe that you are both aware of the anger, frustration and confusion surrounding the instructions of a seemingly unnamed Commander in relation to the Thin Blue Line patches
If what was reported in the Press is accurate, they were being ‘banned’ because of their association with extreme right wing groups in the USA. This is clearly not the USA, it’s the United Kingdom, and the Thin Blue Line is a Registered Charity.
The background is this
The ThinBlueLineUK was established as a registered charity in 2019 after many years of raising awareness around police officers’ mental health issues. From 2012, after the horrific murders of PC Nicola Hughes and PC Fiona Bone in Manchester, a serving officer wanted to do something to help. He aimed to help build awareness around the dangers faced by police officers daily, and raise money for Police Charities that can assist when the inevitable happens. Over the next number of years, the profile of the ThinBlueLineUK continued to rise and eventually it had reached the stage where a more structured organisation was required and the charity was founded.
Further, the Commander has been reported as saying
These have been linked to far-right and anti-trans groups in the US and this year’s Pride is focusing very much on the trans community. This is non-negotiable and supervisors are expected to ensure this is adhered to please.
Apart from the fact this is not America, the American patch referred to is a Stars and Stripes, very much different in appearance and meaning to our own.
Personally I don’t think there’s much chance of getting them confused.
A Metropolitan Police Spokesperson seemingly took it even further;
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said officers can only wear insignia associated with the National Police Memorial Day Trust, Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion charities.
“The Met’s Dress Code Policy sets out the official uniform police officers must adhere to whilst serving the public without fear or favour,” a spokesperson for the force said.
“The policy has not changed. The policy makes exception for the work of the National Police Memorial Day Trust, Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion charities and permits officers to wear their insignia whilst on duty.”
That didn’t age well, it was clearly NOT adhered to.
Rainbow epaulettes clearly were in evidence. They are NOT part of the uniform. They are NOT in support of any of the causes referenced above.
It has been suggested by others “If it isn’t part of the uniform, don’t wear it, end of”.
At least that solution would be “Without Fear or Favour”, Pride was clearly NOT.
Personally I support the Thin Blue Line patches, because of what it represents. Rainbow epaulettes, bootlaces, even a helmet on one occasion, do not represent fallen or seriously injured officers in any way, so, for that reason, I would be delighted to see the Thin Blue Line patches added to the ‘permitted list’ above. If the powers that be approve I have no issue with officers displaying their support for LGBTQ+ issues, but not if equally worthwhile causes such as Thin Blue Line are excluded.
I retired in 2002 after 30 years of ‘Exemplary’ service apparently, so I must have done something right. The Met was a Police Force when I joined and it was broadly speaking disciplined. If one officer was in Shirt Sleeve Order, we all were.
For the sake of morale, you cannot have the Management turning a ‘blind eye’ to one insignia yet ban another. It just causes resentment, confusion and loss of confidence in the Senior Management. I refuse to call them Senior Leaders. What happened last week was not ‘leadership’ in my humble opinion.
For the sake of harmony and good morale can the pair of you please agree a Common Policy regarding the Met’s Dress Code (or Policing nationally), so that we don’t have this sort of contentious issue ever again? It isn’t even expensive to fix.
I thank you for your time.
Wt. No 163***