The Metropolitan Police has apologised to a Christian busker after one of its volunteer officers told her she wasn't allowed to sing Christian songs outside of a church.
It explained in a statement on Tuesday evening that the supposed breach was due to unlicensed busking rather than the content of the songs she was singing.
A spokesperson said: “We’re aware of the significant social media commentary relating to this incident. The clip shows 30 seconds of a 43-minute conversation where the wider context is not immediately obvious.
“Unlicensed busking is an ongoing issue in Westminster and during the interaction, the officer and her colleagues explained the busking legislation a number of times.
“They clarified the breach was due to the busking itself, rather than anything to do with the songs being sung. The officer was mistaken in saying church songs cannot be sung outside of church grounds. We’re sorry for the offence caused and will take the learning forward.”
Gospel singer Harmonie London was performing on London's Oxford Street when the incident happened.
In a video the 20-year-old posted on her Instagram page on Sunday, a special constable told her: “No, miss, you’re not allowed to sing church songs outside of church grounds, by the way”.
The singer replied: “You are, you are, you are”.
The officer argued that she couldn't sing "outside of church grounds unless authorised by the church”.
The special constable then sticks out her tongue and walks away after Harmonie London questioned her about freedom of religion and belief in the Human Rights Act.
The incident sparked much backlash online, which the Met Police acknowledged in a post on X saying: “We're aware of significant social media commentary. Some of the comments are personal and hurtful. This is unacceptable.”
Harmonie London told MailOnline she felt “sad” and “humiliated” after the ordeal in which the officer warned she would take away her keyboard and speakers if she did not stop singing”.
She had performed the songs 'Amazing grace' and 'Goodness of God'.
The Met Police has said “the officer knows she could have handled this differently and is speaking to her manager.”