Terrorist Flags at London Rallies (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
July 20, 2016
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Andrew Dismore AM:  Thank you, Chair.  I have in fact raised this issue on a number of previous occasions with your predecessor and with you, Mayor.  As you say, what the MPS says is often that to avoid confrontation, they let things run and then follow up with investigation and enforcement action later.


One of the concerns I have is that having received that assurance from the MPS, there seems to be very few of these prosecutions, if any, afterwards.  I do not suppose you have the answer now but have you any idea how many such arrests and prosecutions there have been in the last couple of years?


Answer for Terrorist Flags at London Rallies (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Terrorist Flags at London Rallies (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  No, but I am now curious about that and so can I look into that issue and find out.  I tell you why what you are saying is important because it is a point the previous Assembly Member was alluding to.  If you can act in a way now, you can deter others from next from coming back with those flags.  That is the point that the Assembly Member was alluding to.


Let me find out what the answer is to your question.  Let us go back over the last few years and see how many arrests, charges and prosecutions there have been.  What it may be, Assembly Member Dismore - and you will know from your community - is that if it is the case that, hypothetically speaking, there have been zero arrests, zero charges and zero prosecutions, we cannot be surprised if at the following event there is another example of a flag being used that causes huge distress to members of our community in London.


Andrew Dismore AM:  It is not just a question of causing distress to the community when they see Hezbollah or so-called IS flags being waved about.  My concern is that if there is a lack of action against those waving flags of proscribed organisations, like so-called IS or Hezbollah, it undermines the key messages of de-radicalisation and of course zero-tolerance of hate crime if impressionable people think they can get away with doing this sort of thing with impunity.  It really is important that we do send a clear message by following this up with zero tolerance towards it by the police.


One of the concerns I have is just how active the police are in gathering this evidence at the time and forming a view whether in fact they can intervene at the time.  Obviously, we do not want to have a riot because somebody’s flag gets seized and there are insufficient officers to deal with at the time.  It would be very helpful if you do investigate in a bit of detail with the Deputy Mayor [for Policing and Crime] exactly what is done to deal with this quite serious problem.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, can I through you in response to the questions raised by Assembly Members Badenoch and also Dismore agree to discuss this with my Deputy Mayor with the Commissioner to see if we can come forward with a more satisfactory explanation in response to the points you have both raised?  There is illegality that is quite clearly covered by the Terrorism Act.  There are also other issues you have raised.  What would be useful for all of us is clarity in relation to this issue, if that is agreeable to the Assembly.


Andrew Dismore AM:  There is not a problem with the explanation, Mr Mayor.  The question is whether the explanation is actually being carried through into action.  That is the key question.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I hear you.