The new head of London’s police service has ordered officers in Limehouse to remove a rainbow flag which was flying from the station’s flagpole.

The flag, an internationally-recognised symbol of the gay community, was marking LGBT History Month.

A rainbow flag is flying from police headquarters in North Wales thoughout February.

The Daily Mail reported a “senior source” in the Met claimed Sir Paul Stevenson, who took over as Commissioner last week, was “livid when he found out someone had put up the rainbow flag” and presented his decision to order its removal as a sign the police in London will not “stray into political territory.”

In a statement the Met said:

“The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) policy in relation to displaying flags at MPS police buildings is that only two flags should be flown: the Union flag or the MPS flag.

“Yesterday the Commissioner reaffirmed that he expects all staff to adhere to this policy.

“It would appear someone, albeit with good intentions, decided to fly the rainbow flag over a police building in support of LGBT history month. All staff have been reminded of our policy and any flags other than Union or MPS flag will be replaced.”

The Met said it is supporting LGBT History Month through events “aimed at encouraging victims of hate crime to report incidents to police, and to celebrate the contribution made by LGBT people in the Met.

“As part of our activities officers will be attending LGBT venues to encourage people who may suffer or witness hate crime to come forward; holding seminars on safety issues for people in the LGBT community; promoting our LGBT liaison officers for victims to approach as well as participating in other educational and cultural events.”

Click here for information about LGBT History Month events across Britain.