Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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PM to discuss violence against women with Met chief amid fury at force

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Boris Johnson will discuss ways to protect women and girls from violence with the head of the Metropolitan Police amid a storm of criticism over the force’s handling of a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard

The Prime Minister is expected to chair a meeting of the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce on Monday, with Dame Cressida Dick – who has resisted calls to quit over the events – among the attendees.

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

Dame Cressida said what happened to Ms Everard made her “more determined, not less” to lead the organisation, and welcomed the Home Secretary’s request for an independent investigation into the events over the weekend.

Priti Patel, who will be at the meeting on Monday with Justice Secretary Robert Buckland and director of public prosecutions Max Hill, has asked the chief inspector of constabulary to conduct a “lessons learned” review into the police’s actions at the vigil.

The Prime Minister said he was “deeply concerned” about the footage from the event, some of which showed police officers grabbing women and leading them away in handcuffs.

He added: “I have spoken with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who has committed to reviewing how this was handled, and the Home Secretary has also commissioned HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to conduct a lessons learned review into the policing of the event.

“(On Monday) I will chair a meeting of the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce to look at what further action we need to take to protect women and ensure our streets are safe.

“The death of Sarah Everard must unite us in determination to drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to protect and defend them.”

The death of Sarah Everard must unite us in determination to drive out violence against women and girls

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds criticised the Government for responding with “yet more meetings and another consultation” at a moment when the country is “demanding action to tackle violence against women and girls”.

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