Police have claimed officers were attempting to de-escalate tensions after outrage spread over an image of police tearing down posters of people abducted by Hamas in Israel.

The posters, headed ‘kidnapped’ and promoting a hashtag ‘#BringThemHome’ have been put up around London as part of a movement to highlight the abduction of Israeli civilians taken hostage by the group as part of the group's murderous incursion on October 7.

In a post shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, one person shared an image of two officers outside a shop in Edgware appearing to remove the hostage posters.

The user said: “Instead of arresting the mob chanting antisemite slogans today @metpoliceuk are removing hostage posters from a place in Edgware. WTF is going on in this country?”

Others were quick to respond, saying they were shocked and angry over the interference by police.

Addressing the issue in a public statement, the Met said: “We recognise why people are concerned and want an explanation.”

The posters were reportedly put up on Saturday night (October 28) and the Met claims that at least two calls were made about them from local residents.

A spokesperson said: “They believed the posters were put on these specific shutters as a retaliation for comments about the conflict between Israel and Hamas that were made on social media by a person associated with the business.

“It appears printouts of those comments may also have been put up next to the posters.

“Both people who reported the posters to us were concerned that it would escalate an already tense situation. Officers went to the shop and acting in good faith they removed the posters in an effort to prevent any such escalation.”

The force added: “We have no wish to limit the rights of anyone to protest or to raise awareness of the plight of those kidnapped and the terrible impact on their families.

“But we do have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to stop issues escalating and to avoid any further increase in community tension. On this occasion, that is what officers were trying to do.”