A group of Met Police officers were shouted at in the street for not wearing masks – despite being in the middle of an arrest.
The officers had been searching a man outside Walthamstow Central Station, in north London, when a crowd of concerned witnesses began calling out to them about their apparent lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
One of the officers was then forced to hold up a six-inch knife they had allegedly retrieved from the suspect to try and get the bystanders to move on.
In footage of the incident, a woman can be seen approaching the officers and asking where their masks are. She then becomes defensive when one of the group tells her she is being ‘obstructive’.
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One officer then retrieves a large knife the teenager was apparently concealing, telling the witnesses: ‘Thank you for everyone’s concern. This is what he had on him. This is why he doesn’t want to be searched.’
The woman then continues on to say that she is ‘concerned’, before becoming defensive and adding: ‘Don’t be rude. Don’t talk to people like that. All I’ve said to you is where’s your mask. I didn’t say anything else. Put a mask on.’
The officers then advise the bystanders to split up if they are worried about coronavirus, to which the woman replies: ‘We don’t need to split up. You’re out of order.’
One of the officers then responds again: ‘You’re worrying about a mask. He’s got a rambo knife. Do you not understand that’
Metro.co.uk has contacted the Met Police for comment about the incident.
Under the government’s current plan for easing lockdown, the public is advised to wear face masks when outside their homes. According to the guidance, people should ‘wear a face covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet’.
However the demand for PPE among police officers and other frontline workers remains high due to ongoing shortages in the UK. There has also been questions raised about how effective masks are for officers who cannot adhere to social distancing measures in their roles.
In April, Surrey and Sussex Police were forced to return 2,700 masks after they were found to have fraudulent safety certificates.
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