MEND Statement: Appointment of Sir Mark Rowley as the new commissioner of Met Police
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Wednesday July 13 2022
MEND is deeply concerned about the appointment of Sir Mark Rowley, former counter-terrorism chief, as the new commissioner of Met Police.
This worry stems from his past prejudicial comments and ties to right-wing organisations.
He was scheduled to attend the launch of a report by the right-wing Henry Jackson Society, which he endorsed and called a “factual, impartial and highly useful resource.” The Henry Jackson Society members past and present have links to the US far-right, Trump and Islamophobes, including Steve Bannon, Breitbart, the Gatestone Institute and the Mercers.
Mark Rowley delivered a speech at another right-wing think tank, Policy Exchange, where he proceeded to attack mainstream Muslim organisations and compare them to right-wing extremists. Past Policy Exchange authors and their associates have been accused of Islamophobia, antisemitism and promotion of the far-right great replacement theory. Mark Rowley’s attendance at such highly political events raises serious questions about the Metropolitan Police’s political impartiality.
He also specifically accused MEND of “seeking to undermine the State’s considerable efforts to tackle all hate crime”. 5 This despite our considerable work with police forces and councils across the UK in tackling hate crime, our involvement in elections for Police and Crime Commissioners and the setting up of the Islamophobia Response Unit.
Considering both of these think tanks have been at the forefront of a campaign to ensure official disengagement with mainstream Muslim organisations. 6 Sir Mark Rowley’s previous comments appear to be in keeping with such right-wing views. He stated on his appointment as Commissioner that “we will work with London’s diverse communities as we together renew the uniquely British invention of ‘policing by consent”. Given his previous views, how is Sir Mark going to reassure Muslim communities in London that he is serious about working with them and not against them?
MEND openly invites Sir Mark the opportunity to meet with us in order to dispel any misunderstandings he may have of our work and inform him of the positive contributions we are making to empower British Muslim communities and tackle hate crime.
6. Jenkins, J., Perry, D & Stott, P (2022) Delegitimising Counter-Terrorism. Policy Exchange
Image Credit: Surrey County Council News, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons