Monday, July 26, 2021
HomeMet under pressure to explain ‘deeply disturbing’ scenes at Sarah Everard vigil

Met under pressure to explain ‘deeply disturbing’ scenes at Sarah Everard vigil


The Metropolitan Police force is under intense pressure to explain its handling of a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard with Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick urged to consider her position.

The event in Clapham, south London was largely peaceful, but scuffles broke out at the front of a crowd as police surrounded a bandstand covered in floral tributes to the 33-year-old marketing executive.

Male officers could be seen grabbing hold of several women before leading them away in handcuffs, to shouts and screams from onlookers.

Sarah Everard death / PA Wire

In response, the crowd chanted “shame on you”, while during another confrontation a distressed woman could be heard telling officers “you’re supposed to protect us”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described footage from the vigil as “upsetting”, adding: “I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the scenes were “unacceptable”, tweeting: “The police have a responsibility to enforce Covid laws but from images I’ve seen it’s clear the response was at times neither appropriate nor proportionate.”

Mr Khan said that he was in contact with Dame Cressida and was “urgently seeking an explanation”, while Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey called on her to “consider” her leadership of the force.

In a letter to the Commissioner, Sir Ed said the scenes of the policing of the Clapham Common vigil were “utterly disgraceful and shame the Metropolitan Police”.

He added: “This was a complete abject tactical and moral failure on the part of the Police.

“We therefore call on you to consider your leadership of the service and whether you can continue to have the confidence of the millions of women in London that you have a duty to safeguard and protect.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the scenes as “deeply disturbing”, adding: “Women came together to mourn Sarah Everard – they should have been able to do so peacefully.

“I share their anger and upset at how this has been handled. This was not the way to police this protest.”

Reclaim These Streets said the group was “deeply saddened and angered” by scenes of officers “physically manhandling women at a vigil against male violence”.


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