Street preacher says he was outnumbered 14 to 1 by police

Peter Simpson preaching on the streets of Uxbridge.(Photo: Peter Simpson)

A street preacher has claimed 14 police officers turned up to speak to him about his preaching following complaints from the public.

The street preacher at the centre of the incident on 20 August in Uxbridge, West London, was Pastor Peter Simpson, minister of Penn Free Methodist Church, Buckinghamshire.

The Metropolitan Police has admitted its officers "advised" Simpson to stop his public preaching after they received complaints about his "homophobic language" on Uxbridge High Street.

Simpson says that 14 police officers arrived on the scene claiming to have received "multiple complaints" from members of the public about his preaching.

According to the pastor's own account published in The Conservative Woman, he was preaching the gospel near the entrance to Uxbridge tube station.

"I began preaching at around 1.05pm on Bible texts including, 'All have sinned and come short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23), and referring to the sinful hearts of all men," he said.

"I moved on to speak of the state of the nation, and made a brief reference to the immorality of abortion and to the biblical teaching that marriage can be only between one man and one woman.

"I had been preaching for 15 or 20 minutes at the most when two police officers came up to me and said that 'multiple complaints' had been received about 'hate speech'. A few minutes after that there were no fewer than 14 police on the scene."

Pastor Simpson said "the impression was plainly given that if I refused to stop preaching and leave, an arrest would ensue".

"So I reluctantly complied. I suggested to one of the officers that they were acting as judge and jury, rather than trying to make inquiries," he said.

Christian Today contacted the Met for its version of events.

A spokesman said: "On Friday, 20 August at 13:23hrs police were called to High Street, Uxbridge.

"Officers had received complaints that a man preaching at the location was using homophobic language.

"Officers attended, spoke to the man and gave words of advice.

"No arrests were made."

Pastor Simpson was one of those present when Met officers arrested fellow street preacher Pastor John Sherwood outside Uxbridge tube station in April.

Pastor Sherwood, 71, had been preaching from Genesis 1 at the time.

According to the Met, he was "arrested on suspicion of an offence under Section 5 of the Public Order Act" for "allegedly making homophobic comments".

Mr Sherwood was released without charge after being held in a police station overnight. But the Met referred his case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

According to Christian Concern (CC), whose legal centre is representing Pastor Sherwood, the CPS has until October to make a decision on whether he should be prosecuted.

A CC spokesman said the group would announce the CPS decision soon and that it intended to contact Pastor Simpson to offer him support after the incident involving Met officers in August.

The CPS recently dropped its case against another street preacher helped by CC.

Mike Overd was told by police to go home while preaching on the streets of Taunton, Somerset, during lockdown in April 2020. When he refused, he was fined £60.

The CPS said earlier this month that "the prosecution is no longer proceeding".