The Metropolitan Police has said it is investigating after a video was shared online that appeared to show England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty being harassed by two men in a park.
The force 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."
In the video shared on social media, Prof Whitty appears to be grabbed by two men who are shouting and laughing.
Prof Whitty then breaks free of their grasp and attempts to walk away, only for the men to follow him.
Prof Whitty appears to try to flee the men
As he tries to walk away, a man can be heard saying: “Just one photo, please.” Another says: “One photo, mate.”
As Prof Whitty attempts to walk away, the men grab him again. With a line of police vans visible in the background, a voice is heard saying “Leave the gentleman alone” before the clip ends.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi condemned the incident, tweeting: “This is disgusting and these thugs must be found and charged. Zero tolerance for harassing a public servant."
Labour MP Jess Phillips said Prof Whitty had been made to feel “awful and uncomfortable” and issued a reminder that public figures “are human beings”.
“Even if you perceive it as non violent it is clear that he felt awful and uncomfortable and resisted,” Ms Phillips tweeted.
“Public figures are not dolls, they are human beings, it is stunning how easily this is forgotten.”
It is not the first time Prof Whitty has been harassed in public and the incident will add to growing concern that senior figures in Government must be better protected.
Earlier this month, Prof Whitty was followed down a street by an anti-vaccine activist who called him a “liar”. In February, he was also called a “liar” multiple times while waiting at a street food stall.
Prof Whitty’s deputy, Jonathan Van-Tam, was last week accosted outside the Ministry of Defence by an activist who accused him of poisoning Matt Hancock.
Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal called for protection for Prof Whitty and other scientists advising the Government.
“I know that if he was the statue of someone with a dubious past, he would have a dozen strong security detail,” Mr Afzal tweeted.