Saturday, June 12, 2021
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Johnson backs Met Police chief Dick over vigil policing

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Boris Johnson said the police had a “very difficult job” to do, as Scotland Yard continued to face questions over its handling of the event.

Officers clashed with crowds gathered on Clapham Common in south London on Saturday to remember the 33-year-old marketing executive, who went missing while walking home from a friend’s flat on March 3.

Serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with kidnapping and murdering her.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said footage of the Clapham Common event was “upsetting” but defended restrictions on protests put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.

In a Commons statement she added that “too many” women felt unsafe in public.

Mr Johnson was chairing a meeting of the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce on Monday to discuss ways to protect women and girls from violence, with Dame Cressida and Ms Patel among those attending.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Johnson said he still had confidence in Dame Cressida.

Demonstration placard / PA Wire

He told reporters in Coventry: “Yes I do. And what she’s asked is… that we look at what happened on Saturday night.

“The police do have a very, very difficult job. But there’s no question that the scenes that we saw were very distressing and so it is right that Tom Winsor, the inspector of constabulary, should do a full report into it.

“I think people have got to have confidence in the police and Tom’s going to look at that.”

Mr Johnson said society and the Government needed to ensure that women’s complaints about violence are properly heard.

Sarah Everard death / PA Wire

He said “the fundamental issue that we have to address as a country, and as a society and as a Government, is that … women in particular must feel that when they make serious complaints about violence, about assault, that they are properly heard.

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