Metropolitan Police Investigates Officer’s Interaction with Christian Busker
In a developing incident on Oxford Street, Scotland Yard is conducting an investigation into a special constable’s actions after she reportedly told a Christian busker, Harmonie London, that singing church songs outside church grounds was not allowed.
The Metropolitan Police is reviewing body-worn footage of the incident involving volunteer officer Maya Hadzhipetkova and the gospel singer.
Public Condemnation and Outcry Over Officer’s Actions
The controversial encounter, captured on camera and shared on Harmonie’s Instagram page, has sparked widespread condemnation.
Anti-crime campaigner Norman Brennan criticized the video, while Christian Concern’s Andrea Williams called the incident “shocking.”
Former Home Office special adviser Claire Pearsall urged the police to focus on actual crime rather than restricting individuals’ rights.
Legal Ambiguity Surrounding Busking By-Laws
The incident took place on Oxford Street, a council-regulated zone for busking and street entertainment. However, it is unclear whether the officer was accusing Harmonie of breaking any laws.
While there are no specific laws against singing on pavements, council bylaws related to busking and street performances may apply.
Metropolitan Police Responds to Social Media Backlash
The Met issued statements on social media, acknowledging the video filmed on Oxford Street and pledging to understand the context of the comments made.
The review of more than 40 minutes of body-worn video is underway, focusing on a specific by-law related to busking.
The officer’s handling of the situation is being addressed, and she is in communication with her manager.
Christian Busker Asserts Human Rights Violation
Harmonie London, a popular Christian street singer with nearly 300,000 followers on social media, argued that the incident violated her human right to freedom of religion.
In the video, she quotes Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998, which protects an individual’s right to freedom of thought, belief, and religion.
Political and Public Figures React to the Controversy
Former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe called for the officer to be removed from the voluntary force, emphasizing the lack of basis for restricting singing.
Various figures, including a former police officer and a Christian Concern campaign group executive, expressed dismay at the treatment of the busker.
Understanding Oxford Street Busking Policy
Westminster City Council regulates busking on Oxford Street through a ‘light touch licensing scheme.’
Buskers are required to perform only in designated pitches and need to apply for a license, adhering to specific terms and conditions.
While busking is legal in England and Wales, individual councils may impose byelaws related to noise levels, blocking pavements, and performance locations.
Special Constables and Their Responsibilities
Special constables, like Maya Hadzhipetkova, are volunteer police officers with the same powers as regular officers. They work at least 200 hours annually, contributing to community safety.
The incident has prompted discussions about the role of special constables and the need for proper training to handle diverse situations.
Social Media Impact and Singer’s Response
Harmonie’s video of the confrontation has gained significant traction on social media, attracting thousands of likes and comments.
The Met, in response, criticized some of the personal and hurtful comments directed at Officer Hadzhipetkova, emphasizing the need for a balanced and respectful dialogue.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn