The Metropolitan Police have not launched a criminal investigation into the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, and officers are not closing vaccination centers as a result.
Allegations of such police activity have spread rapidly online and appear to be based on a West London branch issuing a Crime Reference Number (CRN) after a report was submitted into an alleged crime linked to a vaccine.
“There is an ongoing criminal investigation,” said a blogger writing on Facebook on January 18. “Any adverse reaction [to COVID-19 vaccines] should be reported to your local police station. Reference crime no. 6029679/21. It’s not about anti anything, it’s a criminal investigation” (here).
In a video, also posted on Facebook, a woman from an Asda supermarket is heard telling staff that the investigation was launched by the Hammersmith and Fulham branch of London’s Metropolitan Police.
She adds: “Some vaccination centers have actually been closed because members of the public have reported them under this crime reference number. I reported this store to the police” (here).
The report of the alleged crime was submitted to Hammersmith and Fulham police in December by a group of individuals known to be skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines (see more details (here).
According to an announcement from the group, several UK government ministers, civil servants and “heads of news networks” have committed a litany of alleged crimes in relation to the rollout of vaccines, starting with misconduct and misconduct in public service.
The list also includes grievous bodily harm, murder, “terrorism”, “torture”, “genocide”, “war crimes” and “treason”.
Such claims are outside the scope of this audit.
However, the Metropolitan Police told Reuters that no such criminal investigation had been launched into COVID-19 vaccines and confirmed that “no vaccination centers have been closed” as part of a non-existent investigation.
A spokesperson explained by email that a CRN issued does not automatically indicate that an investigation has been opened – or that a crime has actually been committed.
On the contrary, the creation of a CRN signifies that the police force has received and registered an allegation made.
“On December 20, a number of documents were lodged at a west London police station in support of allegations of criminality linked to the UK’s vaccination programme,” the spokesperson said. to Reuters on January 19.
“Agents have been assigned to review the documents. This process is time consuming and has been extended by the submission of additional documents by people encouraged to do so online.
“Although the assessment continues, to date there is no indication that a crime has been committed and no criminal investigation has been opened.”
According to the force’s website, an “investigative assessment” takes place after a crime reference number has been issued. This consists of a review of the information gathered to decide if further investigation is warranted. See more information about this process here .
Missing context. The Metropolitan Police said they had not launched a criminal investigation into Britain’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. A crime reference number can be issued after someone reports a suspected crime – but it doesn’t automatically mean an investigation has been opened.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Learn more about our fact-checking work here.