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Leicestershire PCC bans staff from contact with Black Lives Matter

The police and crime commissioner for Leicestershire has said he has banned his staff from communicating with Black Lives Matter groups.

In a diary-style article for Conservative Home, Rupert Matthews wrote that on his third day in office he told his staff not to have any contact with BLM.


The subject had come up during an online staff meeting in which contact with activists from BLM was on the agenda.

“Why are we meeting an organisation that wants to defund the police, has put police officers in hospital, and desecrated the cenotaph in London?” he wrote.

He went on: “Come the meeting, I have a dozen or so faces looking at me from the Teams screen. ‘Any Other Business’. ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘As of now this organisation will have absolutely no contact at all with Black Lives Matter.’

“There is a deathly silence. Meeting over, the screen goes blank.”

Matthews, a Conservative, was elected as PCC for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in May, taking the role from Labour’s Willy Bach, who had held the position since 2016.

As PCC, Matthews is tasked with overseeing policing in the area and holding the chief constable to account. The BLM ban applies to staff in his offices only and not the wider police force.

“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,” said Sharmen Rahman, a Labour councillor in Leicester.

She added that she was not sure what the ban would mean in practice, as Leicester did not have a local BLM organisation.

“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,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Leicestershire PCC said: “I can confirm that Mr Matthews directed his staff to have no contact with the Black Lives Matter organisation – BLM UK – for the reasons outlined in his blog.

“For clarity, the organisation is not the same as the Black Lives Matter movement, something he has previously supported and on which his stance is unchanged.”