News | World News | TV detective slams London police chief who stayed in car at Westminster terror attack

TV detective slams London police chief who stayed in car at Westminster terror attack

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Officers share image online of London police chief with white feather of cowardice after he revealed he stayed in his car during Westminster terror attack

  • Sir Craig Mackey witnessed Khalid Masood stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death
  • He said he went to get out of his car but was told to 'shut the door' and locked it
  • Former detective Peter Bleksley described the actions as 'utterly unforgivable'
  • Photo-shopped images mocking Sir Craig are being shared on police forums

By Alexander Robertson For Mailonline

Published: 05:12 EDT, 10 October 2018 | Updated: 06:05 EDT, 10 October 2018

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Furious police officers are calling for a Met chief to resign as they accused him of being a coward for not helping PC Keith Palmer as he was stabbed by a terrorist.

Sir Craig Mackey is facing intense scrutiny as it was revealed he locked himself in a car before being driven away from the scene during the Westminster attack last year.

Peter Bleksley, a former undercover detective with the Met and star of Channel 4's Hunted, described the police chief's actions as 'utterly unforgivable'.

During a debate on Good Morning Britain today, he called for Sir Craig to and 'be investigated and booted off the force'.

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Photo-shopped images mocking Sir Craig are also being shared on police forums, including one that shows him holding a white feather, a symbol of cowardice
Photo-shopped images mocking Sir Craig are also being shared on police forums, including one that shows him holding a white feather, a symbol of cowardice
Shown in June this year picking up his knighthood
Shown in June this year picking up his knighthood

A photoshopped image (shown left) mocking Sir Craig, swapping his knighthood (pictured right, in June this year) for a white feather

Masood's movements as he entered the Palace of Westminster during the sickening attack 
Masood's movements as he entered the Palace of Westminster during the sickening attack 

Masood's movements as he entered the Palace of Westminster during the sickening attack 

PC Keith Palmer
PC Keith Palmer
Khalid Masood
Khalid Masood

PC Keith Palmer (shown left) was stabbed to death by terrorist Khalid Masood (right) during last year's Westminster terror attack

Photo-shopped images mocking Sir Craig are also being shared on police forums, including one that shows him holding a white feather, a symbol of cowardice.

Calls for Sir Craig, who was then Commissioner of the Met, to quit came as he gave evidence to the inquest into the death of terrorist Khalid Masood at the Old Bailey.

Now Deputy Commissioner, Sir Craig said he went to get out of the car but was told to 'shut the door' and locked it.

But speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Bleksley said: 'A police officer's natural instinct is to get out and help. Always. That is what you do.

'Policing is a family, it is a collective, it is that thin blue line. We are talking about a senior officer who saw his colleague attacked and decided to sit tight in his car.

'During the London Bridge attack, PC Charlie Guenigault, without blinking an eye, he got involved. That's heroism, that's getting involved, that being a police officer.'

Peter Bleksley (left, alongside former chief Dal Babu), a former undercover detective with the Met, described the police chief's actions as 'utterly unforgivable'
Peter Bleksley (left, alongside former chief Dal Babu), a former undercover detective with the Met, described the police chief's actions as 'utterly unforgivable'

Peter Bleksley (left, alongside former chief Dal Babu), a former undercover detective with the Met, described the police chief's actions as 'utterly unforgivable'

CCTV from the scene shows the Met Chief in his vehicle, circled, as it was swept away in the immediate aftermath of the attack
CCTV from the scene shows the Met Chief in his vehicle, circled, as it was swept away in the immediate aftermath of the attack

CCTV from the scene shows the Met Chief in his vehicle, circled, as it was swept away in the immediate aftermath of the attack

Sir Craig said he went to get out of the car, which was passing through the vehicle barrier just inside the gates, but was told: 'Shut the door' and they drove off as the carnage unfolded
Sir Craig said he went to get out of the car, which was passing through the vehicle barrier just inside the gates, but was told: 'Shut the door' and they drove off as the carnage unfolded

Sir Craig said he went to get out of the car, which was passing through the vehicle barrier just inside the gates, but was told: 'Shut the door' and they drove off as the carnage unfolded

PC Palmer staggered past Sir Craig's car, pursued by Masood, who was then shot dead by protection officers working for then-Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.

Sir Craig was then swept away around 30 seconds after Masood, who murdered five people that day, was gunned down.

A white feather for a coward: A symbol to shame men into war

The white feather has been a symbol of cowardice in Britain since the 18th century.

The tradition is thought to derive from cockfighting and the belief that a cockerel sporting a white feather in its tail was likely to be a poor fighter.

It resurfaced prominently during the First World War, when conscientious objectors were shamed by members of the Suffragette movement.

The Order of the White Feather aimed to force men into enlisting in the army, by asking women to approach men in the street who were not wearing a uniform and hand them a white feather.

This prompted the Home Secretary to issue politicians and public servants with lapel badges reading 'King and Country' to indicate that they too were serving the war effort.

However, there were also unfortunate occasions when wounded soldiers on leave from the trenches wearing civilian clothes would sometimes be presented with a white feather by women unaware of their service.

In one instance Private Ernest Atkins, who was on leave from the Western Front, was riding a tram when he was presented with a white feather by a girl sitting behind him.

He smacked her across the face with his pay book and said: 'Certainly I'll take your feather back to the boys at Passchendaele.

He told the inquest: 'I was in shirtsleeves, with no radio. We had no protective equipment. The way that the male came in, he was clearly a threat.'

He added: 'The attacker had one of those looks where, if they get you in that look they would be after you.'

Sir Craig earned more than £270,000 a year as acting commissioner and is due to retire in December.

A former firearms officer described Sir Craig's position as 'untenable'. 

Andy Redhead claimed that the policeman, who was acting commissioner on the day of the attack, had lost the 'respect' of other officers after failing to intervene.

Speaking on Nick Ferrari's LBC Breakfast show, Mr Redhead said: 'I think he should reconsider his position.' 

Mr Ferrari then asked: 'What could he have achieved in a short-sleeve white shirt?'

Mr Redhead replied: 'Do something is better than do nothing. The primary function of a police officer is to preserve life.'

Sir Craig told the inquest: 'I was in shirtsleeves, with no radio. We had no protective equipment.The way that the male came in, he was clearly a threat.'

He added: 'The attacker had one of those looks where, if they get you in that look they would be after you.' Sir Craig earned more than £270,000 a year as acting commissioner and is due to retire in December.

Last night a Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'It was evident that there were officers already present with the necessary skills to neutralise the threat and to administer advanced first aid.'

The inquest continues.

During a debate on Good Morning Britain today, Mr Bleksley called for Sir Craig to and 'be investigated and booted off the force'
During a debate on Good Morning Britain today, Mr Bleksley called for Sir Craig to and 'be investigated and booted off the force'

During a debate on Good Morning Britain today, Mr Bleksley called for Sir Craig to and 'be investigated and booted off the force'

Sir Craig Mackey is pictured after observing a minute's silence outside New Scotland Yard during a vigil to remember the victims of the Westminster terror attack
Sir Craig Mackey is pictured after observing a minute's silence outside New Scotland Yard during a vigil to remember the victims of the Westminster terror attack

Sir Craig Mackey is pictured after observing a minute's silence outside New Scotland Yard during a vigil to remember the victims of the Westminster terror attack

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