Wednesday, 05 May, 2021


Khan, Patel rebuke Met chief over vigil policing

Police investigating the death of Sarah Everard opened up a new search area in Sandwich yesterday Police investigating the death of Sarah Everard opened up a new search area in Sandwich yesterday
Noah Ferguson | 15 March, 2021, 12:40

On March 3, Everard left Clapham at 9 PM, and is believed to have walked through Clapham Common, a large park, while on the way home.

It has asked Dame Cressida for an urgent meeting so she can "explain the actions taken by the police last night, before she reports to the Home Secretary".

Dame Cressida said what happened to 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.

The official vigil, which was being organised by Reclaim These Streets, had been called off earlier in the day due to police warnings over coronavirus restrictions.

On Saturday, several hundred people gathered at the Clapham Common to mourn Everard, despite a planned vigil being cancelled after the police cited Covid-19 restrictions.

And Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said he would bring together police chiefs today to discuss "what more we can do to better protect women". "I received assurances from the Metropolitan Police last week that the vigil would be policed sensitively".

"I felt compelled to come here today because it feels like all the women in my life have been really, really affected by Sarah's death", 34-year-old Isabel told AFP.

"We absolutely did not want to be in a position where enforcement action was necessary", assistant police commissioner Helen Ball said.

But the force defended its officers, saying that police "must act for people's safety".

Speaking about Everard and her family, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday, "I can not imagine how unbearable their pain and grief is".

He said: "I asked the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner to come into City Hall today to give me an explanation of yesterday's events and the days leading up to them". Late Friday police charged the officer, Constable Wayne Couzens, with kidnapping and murder.

London's mayor Sadiq Khan publicly rebuked the commissioner, who he helped to appoint in 2017 as the first woman to hold the role of Britain's most senior police chief.

The Metropolitan Police later said four people were arrested for public order and coronavirus regulation breaches.

An image of officers handcuffing a woman on Saturday night as she lay on the floor was widely shared and condemned on social media.

But the main opposition Labour party leader Keir Starmer, a former public prosecutor, called the scenes "deeply disturbing".

"I've listened to what people have been saying in the last week, I know that in the streets all across the United Kingdom women don't feel as safe as we would all like women to feel".

"We were shocked and really, really sad, and to see videos of policemen handling women at a vigil about violence against women by men", one of the organizers, Jamie Klingler, told the Press Association on Sunday. While many were grateful to see the mom-of-three honoring Everard, others were not too happy with how she did. Johnson's office said the government already is: recruiting 20,000 extra police officers over three years; reviewing how the criminal justice system deals with rape and sexual offenses; pushing a domestic abuse bill that will crack down on cases of non-fatal strangulation and revenge porn; and surveying the public about experiences with violence.

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