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Leicestershire Police chief speaks out after banning contact with Black Lives Matter

Earlier this month, Rupert Matthews, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Leicestershire, claimed that he will allow no communication between his staff and BLM UK. The ban will only apply to Mr Matthews’s staff employed in his office at Leicestershire Police headquarters. Police officers and other senior officers who often speak to external organisations and have frequent contact with the community will not be affected.

This is because the PCC has no say in operational policing.

And now, Mr Matthews has told Express.co.uk why he made the decision.

He said: “The point I was making was that there is a difference between the Black Lives Matter movement in Leicester and Black Lives Matter UK.

“The BLM movement is fine and they’re all very well-meaning and they do a lot to highlight inequalities in living conditions.”

He continued: “There is a big difference between them and the Black Lives Matter UK, who are registering with the electoral commission as a political party.”

He added: “They want to defund the police.

“What I was saying was that when you’re in contact with them just make sure you know which one you’re talking to.

“It’s great to talk to the one but it’s not okay to talk to the other.“

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The list now includes organisations such as English Defence League, Britain First, the Communist Party and Black Lives Matter UK.

According to Mr Matthews, the policies of BLM UK are “awful”.

He claimed that they want to defund the police and they want to “close all prisons”.

The PCC also pointed out that the organisation is very “unclear” as a whole.

Mr Matthews said: “You don’t have these sort of problems with the English Defence League.

“You know who they are and how they’re organised and what they do.

“It’s only because of this difficulty with the name that I had to clarify.”

He added: “That organisation I have no time for at all.

“They’ve organised some very nasty protests which have turned violent and we should have no contact with them at all.”

However, Mr Matthews acknowledged that there is a big difference between BLM UK and Black Lives Matter movement.

He praised the BLM movement in Leicester by saying that they do some “great” work within the community.

According to the PCC’s manifesto, he will attempt to engage with the public and try to tackle inequality on the streets of Leicester.

Mr Matthews said: “What we need to do is make sure that everyone is treated equally, make sure that everyone is treated fairly.

“And where there is inequality we need to do something about it.”

He added: “There is a huge amount of good work going on. We’ve got to make sure that there are good community relations.”

However, the PPC’s decision did not come without criticism.

Sharmen Rahman, a Labour councillor in Leicester said: “It is extraordinary from somebody who’s meant to be the PCC for the entire Leicestershire area.

“But it’s not extraordinary when you consider it is a Conservative PCC, and the precedent the Conservative Party have set when it comes to race and race relations.”

She added: “I just find it sad for the ethnic minority voters in Leicester.

“The area is very diverse, and the person who’s meant to represent us in the PCC role is essentially shutting out a huge group of minority voices and saying that he isn’t willing to talk to them.”

Mr Matthews responded to those claims by saying that Ms Rahman is “trying to stir things up” and is “misinterpreting” the whole situation.

The PCC said: “We’ve got staff associations in the police for Sikhs, Muslims, Black police officers.

“I’ve met all of them. And I’m very happy for my office to support the work that they do.

“It is just someone trying to stir things up and cause trouble to put things bluntly.

“There is no change in the direction of the police.”

Mr Matthews added: “All I want is for the police to engage with the public more than they have in the past.“

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