Police accused of pressuring Tory party to unseat Councillor Stevens

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: May 18, 2024

Media revealed that a police detective allegedly put pressure on the Wellingborough local Tory party to unseat councillor Anthony Stevens after Mr. Stevens had defended the freedom of speech of a Christian street preacher and a Christian councillor. According to reports, the police detective explained that “in her opinion” Mr Steven was “not a fit person to be a councillor” because of his free speech beliefs and used internal information ton put pressure on the local chair of the committee. The incident happened just before the police searched and detained Cllr Stevens for supporting the freedom of speech case of Christian councillor King Lawal on his personal Twitter account in August 2023. The incident has prompted accusations of political interference by police.

Now media revealed that already days before the arresting Cllr Stevens, a Northamptonshire Police detective, Detective Constable Amelia Thompson, phoned former local mayor for Wellingborough Jonathan Ekins allegedly telling him that his colleague was about to be arrested “for a serious offence”. DC Thompson reportedly told Mr Ekins that Mr Stevens' criticism of the police for arresting a Christian street preacher, combined with his public support for his colleague, councillor King Lawal (Stevens had defended Cllr Lawal's right to publicly criticise the pride movement - see case) disqualified him as publicly elected town councillor. 

“She said in their opinion the police felt that he was not a fit person to be a councillor,” said Mr Ekins. “DC Thompson said Anthony Stevens should be removed from being a councillor.” In response to the threat that police will storm a council building and arrest him if he attended a planning committee meeting, Mr Ekins said: “My response was, rightly, to remind DC Thompson that she would be welcome to try but that, as chair of the committee, I have the right to … instruct security officials to remove the police for public disruption of a democratically constituted meeting.' The row has prompted accusations of political interference by police.”

The actions of the police may call democratic principles into question said the lawyer representing Mr Stevens: “What happened undermined and trampled on our law, democracy and freedoms on every level.”

Mr Stevens now launched a formal complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for an investigation into ‘the methods, motives and conduct’ of officers at Northamptonshire police.

On August 8, 2023, OIDAC Europe reported, Cllr Stevens, was searched in his house in front of his wife and children, taken to the Kettering police station, and heavily questioned, for posting tweets from his personal account supporting the case of Christian Councillor King Lawal. Cllr Stevens was released on bail, his mobile phone was seized to be searched for further evidence. On the first week of December 2023 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped the case against Cllr Stevens due to insufficient evidence, Northamptonshire Police confirmed the decision. 

Sources: Daily MailFree Speech UnionChristian Concern

Image: Twitter (Christian Concern)