Police investigating after footage emerges of two men harassing Chris Whitty

The incident has prompted calls for the chief medical officer to be given security when out in public

Police are investigating after video emerged yesterday of two men allegedly harassing Chris Whitty in London.

A video of the incident has been shared widely on social media.

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At a glance: 5 key facts

Police investigating after footage emerges of two men harassing Chris Whitty  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Police investigating after footage emerges of two men harassing Chris Whitty (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

– Footage has emerged showing two men harassing England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty in a park in London

– The two men grab Whitty, seemingly to pose for a photo, but the government officials is clearly uncomfortable and tries to get away from them before he is grabbed again

– The Metropolitan Police have said they are in touch with the victim and are investigating the incident

– A number of MPs and public figures have reacted to the video, with some calling for Whitty to receive a security detail in future

– Whitty has previously been harassed in public on at least two occasions, and Covid-sceptic protesters chanted outside his home over the weekend

What’s been said?

Metropolitan Police tweeted: “We are aware of a video being shared online showing an incident in St James’s Park. Officers spoke to all those involved at the time and their details were taken.

“We are in contact with the victim and the circumstances continue to be investigated.”

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi Tweeted: “This is disgusting and these thugs must be found and charged. Zero tolerance for harassing a public servant”

Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley Tweeted: “Just seen this and it is horrible to see. Even if you perceive it as non violent it is clear that he felt awful and uncomfortable and resisted.

“Public figures are not dolls, they are human beings, it is stunning how easily this is forgotten.”

Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal Tweeted: “I know that if he was the statue of someone with a dubious past, he would have a dozen strong security detail.

“This is just the latest incident of harassment involving the Chief Medical Advisor.”

Writer and consultant Emma Burnell Tweeted: “Lots of people asking tonight why Chris Whitty doesn't have protection officers.

“They are sadly right.

“But the bigger question is why on Earth a public health official should need one. This is what happens when people decide division is a useful political tool.”

Background

Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, is a key adviser to the government on dealing with Covid and has been arguably the most prominent public health official throughout the pandemic.

Earlier this month, Whitty was confronted in Oxford by a man who accused him of lying to the public about Covid.

A similar incident took place in Westminster in February.

In both instances the men filmed the incidents themselves.