BAME police officers had to be removed from the front line as the abuse at the Black Lives Matter protests was so bad, a senior police officer has revealed.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House told the London Assembly that Black and minority officers were the target of abuse during the protests, which were triggered by the death of George Floyd in the US.
Sir Stephen told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee: “Very sadly our black and minority colleagues were the target of particular abuse.
“One might expect that from the right wing, I guess, I'm characterising but I wouldn't have expected it from the demonstrators in Black Lives Matter but it was a fact.”
He went on to say that he read a number of statements by black officers recounting the abuse they’d received and how it had resulted in taking them “out of the line”.
“Sergeants had to put an arm around their shoulders and say you've got to come away because it's just too aggressive towards you, too nasty,” he said.
He added: “I just can't say how upsetting that is for us and for the officers who feel they can't do right for doing wrong frankly.”
The Government is consulting on plans to increase the maximum penalty for assaulting an emergency worker from 12 months to two years.
There has been growing concern over violence shown towards frontline staff, with police figures showing that assaults on officers rose by a quarter in the four weeks to June 7, compared with the previous year.
This was amid a string of coughing or spitting attacks, where Covid-19 has been used as a threat, as well as disorder during the protests.
Sir Stephen told the London Assembly members that he favours a "two-strike" policy for criminals who attack emergency workers and that if they do it more than once they should face a guaranteed jail term.
He said: "My personal preference is that they go to a two-strikes policy, so that if you are convicted a second time in a stipulated period then there is an automatic prison sentence and it should be a decent one to discourage people.
"I think it's too prevalent among certain groups now that assaulting police is part of the fun, part of the game and society can't let that happen."