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Police standards body investigating arrest of London street preacher

Wed 27 Feb 2019
By Marcus Jones

The arrest of a London street preacher over the weekend which drew much criticism is being investigated by the police's Professional Standards Unit.

The story of the man, known only as Olu, went viral over the weekend after a video was posted on social media showing him being arrested outside Southgate tube station and having his Bible taken away.

In the video, the man is accused of "being racist" but it's unclear what he said while preaching which caused the police to intervene.

 

Police confirmed to Premier that he was arrested for "breaching the peace" but was later de-arrested.

 

Preaching on the streets isn't recognised as a crime in the UK.

According to campaign group Christian Concern, Olu was taken out of the area to an "unfamiliar neighbourhood" and left without any money to get home.

The police have since denied that, claiming he was merely taken 200m away.

Former MP for Enfield Southgate, David Burrowes was one of those concerned over the treatment of the preacher.

He contacted the Borough Commander Helen Millichap and posted her response on Facebook.

She said: "The Met respects and upholds the rights of all individuals to practice freedom of speech, and this includes street preachers of all religions and backgrounds.

"In this instance, officers were responding to a call where a member of the public had raised concerns about his language.

"If an incident reported to us is perceived as being a potential hate crime, it is only right that we investigate. That is the role of the police, even if a decision is subsequently made that their actions are not criminal. In this case, it was deemed appropriate to remove the man from the area.

"A complaint has been received from a third-party regarding the actions of the officers who attended, and this is being reviewed by the borough's Professional Standards Unit."

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