Thousands of protesters in London late into the night as Cressida Dick refuses to quit

Boris Johnson has said he was ‘deeply concerned’ by footage from a vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common, but has urged the country to come together in her name as he summons ministers to a taskforce meeting where they will discuss violence against women and girls. 

Demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square and outside New Scotland Yard today following Saturday’s vigil, which saw around 1,500 people attend, despite warnings that it was unlawful.

Police were seen standing guard outside Met Police’s headquarters, while other officers stood around a statue of Sir Winston Churchill, after it was vandalised during protests last year.

Crowds could be heard yelling ‘f*** the police,’ branding officers ‘scum’ and shouting ‘protect women, not statues,’ during today’s protests – which saw them march from Trafalgar Square to New Scotland Yard, before gathering in Parliament Square. 

The PM will chair a meeting of the Crime and Justice Taskforce on Monday to discuss how to keep Britain’s streets safe, after women across the country shared their stories of being harassed, following the death of Sarah Everard, 33.

Mr Johnson said the marketing executive’s death must ‘unite us in determination, to drive out violence against women and girls.

Ahead of the meeting, he said: ‘Like everyone who saw it I was deeply concerned about the footage from Clapham Common on Saturday night.

‘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.

‘Tomorrow 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.’

On Sunday Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said she would not resign, despite her position being branded ‘untenable,’ by the Women’s Equality Party.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has ordered a full review into the Met’s handling of Saturday’s vigil, said: ‘Everyone should be free to walk our streets without fear of harassment, abuse or violence.

‘The Home Office survey on tackling violence against women and girls has received an unprecedented 53,000 responses since it reopened on Friday and I’d urge everyone to give us their views.’

Protesters remained outside New Scotland Yard after hours of protesting in London today, with officers forming a protective ring outside Met Police's headquarters

Protesters remained outside New Scotland Yard after hours of protesting in London today, with officers forming a protective ring outside Met Police's headquarters

Protesters remained outside New Scotland Yard after hours of protesting in London today, with officers forming a protective ring outside Met Police’s headquarters

Officers are guarding a statue of Winston Churchill as demonstrators continue their protest in Parliament Square this evening while Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick earlier announced she would not be stepping down from her role

Officers are guarding a statue of Winston Churchill as demonstrators continue their protest in Parliament Square this evening while Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick earlier announced she would not be stepping down from her role

Officers are guarding a statue of Winston Churchill as demonstrators continue their protest in Parliament Square this evening while Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick earlier announced she would not be stepping down from her role 

A Home Office spokesperson said there were 'still questions to be answered,' after reading a report into Met Police's resposne to last night's vigil in Clapham. Protesters remain in Parliament Square tonight

A Home Office spokesperson said there were 'still questions to be answered,' after reading a report into Met Police's resposne to last night's vigil in Clapham. Protesters remain in Parliament Square tonight

A Home Office spokesperson said there were ‘still questions to be answered,’ after reading a report into Met Police’s resposne to last night’s vigil in Clapham. Protesters remain in Parliament Square tonight

Justifying last night's police response, Dame Cressida Dick said: 'We're still in a pandemic, unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings'. Thousands protested across London toda

Justifying last night's police response, Dame Cressida Dick said: 'We're still in a pandemic, unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings'. Thousands protested across London toda

Justifying last night’s police response, Dame Cressida Dick said: ‘We’re still in a pandemic, unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings’. Thousands protested across London toda

After gathering outside New Scotland Yard, the protesters headed to Parliament Square where they staged a minute-long lie-in protest

After gathering outside New Scotland Yard, the protesters headed to Parliament Square where they staged a minute-long lie-in protest

After gathering outside New Scotland Yard, the protesters headed to Parliament Square where they staged a minute-long lie-in protest

As protesters continue today (pictured) Cressida Dick said: 'six hours of yesterday was really calm and peaceful, very few police officers around, respectful, people laying flowers, not gathering, and a vigil that did not breach the regulations'

As protesters continue today (pictured) Cressida Dick said: 'six hours of yesterday was really calm and peaceful, very few police officers around, respectful, people laying flowers, not gathering, and a vigil that did not breach the regulations'

As protesters continue today (pictured) Cressida Dick said: ‘six hours of yesterday was really calm and peaceful, very few police officers around, respectful, people laying flowers, not gathering, and a vigil that did not breach the regulations’

Protesters branded police 'scum' during protests today, after Cressida Dick defended the reaction of officers in Clapham last night, saying 'officers have to take action if people are putting themselves massively at risk'

Protesters branded police 'scum' during protests today, after Cressida Dick defended the reaction of officers in Clapham last night, saying 'officers have to take action if people are putting themselves massively at risk'

Protesters branded police ‘scum’ during protests today, after Cressida Dick defended the reaction of officers in Clapham last night, saying ‘officers have to take action if people are putting themselves massively at risk’

The commissioner, who has held her post since 2017, defended her leadership, saying: ‘We’re still in a pandemic, unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings, officers have to take action if people are putting themselves massively at risk.’

Asked if she was considering resigning, she said: ‘No, I’m not.’

Another protest is set to take place in London at around 5pm on Monday, with Patsy Henderson, one of the vigil attendants pictured being restrained by officers on Saturday, confirming she planned to attend. 

Cressida Dick added: ‘All the women and men of the Met are outraged at what has happened and they’re working as hard as they can to get justice for Sarah.

‘In that context, none of us would have wanted to see the scenes we saw at the end of yesterday’s events.

‘It’s worth saying, of course, I fully understand the strength of feeling I think as a woman hearing from people about their experiences in the past and what they feel about what happened to Sarah and what has been going on, I understand why so many people wanted to come and pay their respects and make a statement about this.

‘Indeed, if it had been lawful, I’d have been there, I’d have been at a vigil. And six hours of yesterday was really calm and peaceful, very few police officers around, respectful, people laying flowers, not gathering, and a vigil that did not breach the regulations.

‘Unfortunately, later on, we had a really big crowd that gathered, lots of speeches and quite rightly, as far as I can see, my team felt this is now an unlawful gathering which poses a considerable risk to people’s health according to the regulations.’

Dame Cressida Dick said police acted correctly at Saturday's vigil after a 'really big crowd gathered,' demonstrators were out in London late on Sunday

Dame Cressida Dick said police acted correctly at Saturday's vigil after a 'really big crowd gathered,' demonstrators were out in London late on Sunday

Dame Cressida Dick said police acted correctly at Saturday’s vigil after a ‘really big crowd gathered,’ demonstrators were out in London late on Sunday

Police are guarding the entrance to New Scotland Yard as protesters gather around the Met Police headquarters tonight

Police are guarding the entrance to New Scotland Yard as protesters gather around the Met Police headquarters tonight

Police are guarding the entrance to New Scotland Yard as protesters gather around the Met Police headquarters tonight 

Masked police officers have surrounded a statue of Winston Churchill, following scenes last year that saw the monument defaced. Demonstrators today have marched on Parliament Square twice

Masked police officers have surrounded a statue of Winston Churchill, following scenes last year that saw the monument defaced. Demonstrators today have marched on Parliament Square twice

Masked police officers have surrounded a statue of Winston Churchill, following scenes last year that saw the monument defaced. Demonstrators today have marched on Parliament Square twice

Protesters remain in Parliament Square, as Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced she would not be stepping down from her position

Protesters remain in Parliament Square, as Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced she would not be stepping down from her position

Protesters remain in Parliament Square, as Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced she would not be stepping down from her position

Priti Patel ordered a full report investigating Met Police's response to the vigil for Sarah Everard at Clapham Common. Protesters remained in London for hours on Sunday

Priti Patel ordered a full report investigating Met Police's response to the vigil for Sarah Everard at Clapham Common. Protesters remained in London for hours on Sunday

Priti Patel ordered a full report investigating Met Police’s response to the vigil for Sarah Everard at Clapham Common. Protesters remained in London for hours on Sunday

Protesters gathered outside New Scotland Yard criticising Dame Cressida Dick, but despite her leadership being described as 'untenable,' Met Police's commissioner said she will remain in her post

Protesters gathered outside New Scotland Yard criticising Dame Cressida Dick, but despite her leadership being described as 'untenable,' Met Police's commissioner said she will remain in her post

Protesters gathered outside New Scotland Yard criticising Dame Cressida Dick, but despite her leadership being described as ‘untenable,’ Met Police’s commissioner said she will remain in her post

Earlier today Priti Patel ordered a full report into the police’s response to last night’s vigil in Clapham Common.

A crowd of around 1,500 people had gathered at Clapham Common in south London to remember the 33-year-old marketing executive, but scuffles broke out as police surrounded a bandstand covered in flowers left in tribute.

Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said she took the events ‘very seriously’ but that she wanted to give the commissioner ‘a chance to explain’ what happened. 

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘The Home Secretary has read the report provided by the Metropolitan Police and feels there are still questions to be answered.

‘In the interests of ensuring public confidence in the police, earlier this afternoon the Home Secretary asked Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to conduct a lessons learned review into the policing of the event at Clapham Common.’

Dame Cressida Dick defended the police response to last night's vigil on Clapham Common, saying today: 'We're still in a pandemic, unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings.' Police are watching a crowd of demonstrators in Parliament Square this afternoon

Dame Cressida Dick defended the police response to last night's vigil on Clapham Common, saying today: 'We're still in a pandemic, unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings.' Police are watching a crowd of demonstrators in Parliament Square this afternoon

Dame Cressida Dick defended the police response to last night’s vigil on Clapham Common, saying today: ‘We’re still in a pandemic, unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings.’ Police are watching a crowd of demonstrators in Parliament Square this afternoon

Protesters gathered outside New Scotland Yard in London on Sunday in the wake of Saturday night's unrest at Clapham Common during the vigil for Sarah Everard

Protesters gathered outside New Scotland Yard in London on Sunday in the wake of Saturday night's unrest at Clapham Common during the vigil for Sarah Everard

Protesters gathered outside New Scotland Yard in London on Sunday in the wake of Saturday night’s unrest at Clapham Common during the vigil for Sarah Everard 

Patsy Stevenson, who was pictured being held on the floor by police at the vigil, said she was arrested 'for standing there, I wasn't doing anything'. Ms Stevenson has said she intends to protest at another demonstration on Monday

Patsy Stevenson, who was pictured being held on the floor by police at the vigil, said she was arrested 'for standing there, I wasn't doing anything'. Ms Stevenson has said she intends to protest at another demonstration on Monday

Patsy Stevenson, who was pictured being held on the floor by police at the vigil, said she was arrested ‘for standing there, I wasn’t doing anything’. Ms Stevenson has said she intends to protest at another demonstration on Monday

Protesters have been yelling 'shame on you,' while stood outside New Scotland Yard earlier today. Marches have taken place between Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square

Protesters have been yelling 'shame on you,' while stood outside New Scotland Yard earlier today. Marches have taken place between Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square

Protesters have been yelling ‘shame on you,’ while stood outside New Scotland Yard earlier today. Marches have taken place between Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square 

Police continue to monitor demonstrators in London this afternoon, after the Fire Brigades Union described last night's scenes in Clapham as 'draconian and authoritative'

Police continue to monitor demonstrators in London this afternoon, after the Fire Brigades Union described last night's scenes in Clapham as 'draconian and authoritative'

Police continue to monitor demonstrators in London this afternoon, after the Fire Brigades Union described last night’s scenes in Clapham as ‘draconian and authoritative’

Demonstrators have marched to New Scotland Yard, Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square during today's protest, following last night's vigil

Demonstrators have marched to New Scotland Yard, Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square during today's protest, following last night's vigil

Demonstrators have marched to New Scotland Yard, Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square during today’s protest, following last night’s vigil

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a 'lessons learned' review into the policing of the vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common on Saturday, a Government source said, as protesters gathered in Parliament Square today

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a 'lessons learned' review into the policing of the vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common on Saturday, a Government source said, as protesters gathered in Parliament Square today

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a ‘lessons learned’ review into the policing of the vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common on Saturday, a Government source said, as protesters gathered in Parliament Square today

Thousands of masked demonstrators took to the streets of London earlier today, as a petition calling for Cressida Dick's resignation gains traction online

Thousands of masked demonstrators took to the streets of London earlier today, as a petition calling for Cressida Dick's resignation gains traction online

Thousands of masked demonstrators took to the streets of London earlier today, as a petition calling for Cressida Dick’s resignation gains traction online

The protesters lay on the ground in silence for a minute as thousands gathered to share their outrage at the events at Saturday's vigil

The protesters lay on the ground in silence for a minute as thousands gathered to share their outrage at the events at Saturday's vigil

The protesters lay on the ground in silence for a minute as thousands gathered to share their outrage at the events at Saturday’s vigil 

Asked what she thought when she saw the pictures of the policing at the vigil, Cressida Dick said: 'I wouldn't have wanted to see a vigil in memory of Sarah end with those scenes.' Protesters continued demonstrations this evening

Asked what she thought when she saw the pictures of the policing at the vigil, Cressida Dick said: 'I wouldn't have wanted to see a vigil in memory of Sarah end with those scenes.' Protesters continued demonstrations this evening

Asked what she thought when she saw the pictures of the policing at the vigil, Cressida Dick said: ‘I wouldn’t have wanted to see a vigil in memory of Sarah end with those scenes.’ Protesters continued demonstrations this evening

A group of police officers were patrolling the scenes on Sunday but did not interfere with the protests after Saturday night's scenes

A group of police officers were patrolling the scenes on Sunday but did not interfere with the protests after Saturday night's scenes

A group of police officers were patrolling the scenes on Sunday but did not interfere with the protests after Saturday night’s scenes

The commissioner, who was appointed to the role in 2017, said she welcomes, and is ‘very comfortable’ with, a review into the events at Saturday’s vigil. 

She said the officers were in an ‘invidious’ position when crowds grew, continuing: ‘They then moved to try to explain to people, to engage with people, to get people to disperse from this unlawful gathering and many, many, many people did – unfortunately, a small minority did not.’

Asked what she thought when she saw the pictures of the policing at the vigil, she said: ‘I wouldn’t have wanted to see a vigil in memory of Sarah end with those scenes.

‘That’s why this morning I said, from what I can tell, I wasn’t there, but from what I can tell, my officers – in a very difficult position, as they have been again and again in the last year policing within coronavirus restrictions, having to uphold the law, having to be impartial, having to be fair.

‘But of course trying to apply common sense and discretion and if people don’t understand the law, trying to help them to understand and engage and speak before we ever turn to any enforcement, but that is why I said we didn’t want it to end like that, let’s have a review.’

She continued: ‘I spoke in the day to both the Home Secretary and the mayor, I’m very comfortable with that and I think officers will be as well. 

Cressida Dick's position has been described as 'untenable,' by the Women's Equality Party today, while others have said she should 'consider' her leadership of the force. Placards with a 'Socialist Worker' header were displayed during today's protest in London

Cressida Dick's position has been described as 'untenable,' by the Women's Equality Party today, while others have said she should 'consider' her leadership of the force. Placards with a 'Socialist Worker' header were displayed during today's protest in London

Cressida Dick’s position has been described as ‘untenable,’ by the Women’s Equality Party today, while others have said she should ‘consider’ her leadership of the force. Placards with a ‘Socialist Worker’ header were displayed during today’s protest in London

Police vans were lined up next to thousands of protesters in Westminster this afternoon. Dame Cressida Dick has since spoken with Priti Patel and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, adding that she was 'comfortable,' with the police's response to last night's vigil on Clapham Common

Police vans were lined up next to thousands of protesters in Westminster this afternoon. Dame Cressida Dick has since spoken with Priti Patel and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, adding that she was 'comfortable,' with the police's response to last night's vigil on Clapham Common

Police vans were lined up next to thousands of protesters in Westminster this afternoon. Dame Cressida Dick has since spoken with Priti Patel and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, adding that she was ‘comfortable,’ with the police’s response to last night’s vigil on Clapham Common

Protesters lay on the ground at Parliament Square as part of their demonstration. Asked what she thought when she saw the pictures of the policing at the vigil, Cressida Dick said: 'I wouldn't have wanted to see a vigil in memory of Sarah end with those scenes

Protesters lay on the ground at Parliament Square as part of their demonstration. Asked what she thought when she saw the pictures of the policing at the vigil, Cressida Dick said: 'I wouldn't have wanted to see a vigil in memory of Sarah end with those scenes

Protesters lay on the ground at Parliament Square as part of their demonstration. Asked what she thought when she saw the pictures of the policing at the vigil, Cressida Dick said: ‘I wouldn’t have wanted to see a vigil in memory of Sarah end with those scenes

She added: ‘I completely recognise that (officers) are, particularly in this last year, often finding themselves in very very difficult situations, they are policing during a pandemic. 

‘Nobody wants a third wave to happen.

‘It’s only a few weeks since the NHS was on its knees. 

‘They have a really difficult job, they have to make fine judgments, they often don’t have infinite information or all the time in the world.

‘They have to make these really difficult calls and I don’t think anybody should be sitting back in an armchair and saying ‘well that was done badly’ or ‘I would have done it differently’ without actually understanding what was going through their minds.

‘I guarantee that every single officer who was policing last night, like me, would rather we were not in the time of coronavirus. There could be a large, peaceful set of vigils all over the country.

‘Most of them would have been at those vigils and I guarantee also that my officers up and down London and beyond, if they weren’t working, will have been thinking of Sarah at 9:30pm last night, they will have been lighting their candles or pausing, and it’s something we care about very, very deeply.’

Cressida Dick was today spotted walking into New Scotland Yard in Westminster at around 2.15pm, along with Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House. 

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey called on the Commissioner to ‘consider’ her leadership of the force, adding: ‘Cressida Dick has lost the confidence of the millions of women in London and should resign.’ 

Women’s Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer said her position was ‘untenable’.

Patsy Stevenson, who was pictured being held on the floor by police at the vigil, said she attended the gathering in Clapham Common yesterday in support of women who cannot walk down the street by themselves ‘because of the fear of men’.  

Ms Stevenson said she would like to ‘have a conversation’ with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, telling LBC: ‘I would like to sit down with her and have a conversation. 

‘I think dialogue is very important in this case.’

Ms Stevenson said she would be attending a demonstration in Parliament Square on Monday. 

Met Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh disputed the criticism as he said: ‘Politicians of all parties should make themselves aware of all the facts before rushing to judgement and making statements.’  

Dozens of police officers had moved in to block access to speakers as tensions sparked in the crowd and mourners started chanting ‘arrest your own’ and ‘shame on you’, with scenes quickly turning violent.  

Defending the force’s actions, Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said ‘hundreds of people were packed tightly together,’ posing a very real risk of transmitting the virus. 

She added that officers had repeatedly encouraged those attending to leave, but ‘a small minority’ of people chanted at police, pushing and throwing objects.

‘We accept that the actions of our officers have been questioned,’ Ball said. ‘We absolutely did not want to be in a position where enforcement action was necessary. 

‘But we were placed in this position because of the overriding need to protect people’s safety.’ 

Shadow domestic violence minister Jess Phillips said: ‘The reality is if Cressida Dick stays or goes (it) doesn’t make women in this country more safe, and that’s what I want to talk about.’

She said there were ‘so many missed opportunities throughout the day for police to work with organisers to create a completely safe vigil so that people could go and have a moment of sorrow and a moment of resistance’. 

Ms Phillips called for the minimum rape sentence to be increased from five to seven years, and said misogyny should be treated as a hate crime.

The Fire Brigades Union said earlier today that it stands ‘in solidarity’ with the women who were ‘manhandled, pushed to the ground, separated from their friends and arrested by the police last night’.

Condemning Met Police’s response, the firefighters’ union added: ‘These draconian and authoritative actions have no place in a democratic society.

‘This was a clear demonstration of the patriarchy’s inability to comprehend the reality and scope of male violence against women and girls. Those responsible for the decisions to approach this vigil in such a way should be held accountable.

‘Last night demonstrated that allowing the police to lead the response and set the level of restriction to peaceful protest would be a catastrophic mistake.’

Conservative MP for Folkestone & Hythe Damian Collins said: ‘Appalling scenes in Clapham last night of aggressive police action at the vigil for Sarah Everard & a justificatory statement from the Met using the language of the abuser to its victims over the years – it’s your fault, you made us do it. They need to be held to account for this.’  

Thousands of protesters took part in today's demonstration, which is continuing into this evening. It comes after a crowd of around 1,500 people had gathered at Clapham Common in south London to remember Sarah Everard

Thousands of protesters took part in today's demonstration, which is continuing into this evening. It comes after a crowd of around 1,500 people had gathered at Clapham Common in south London to remember Sarah Everard

Thousands of protesters took part in today’s demonstration, which is continuing into this evening. It comes after a crowd of around 1,500 people had gathered at Clapham Common in south London to remember Sarah Everard

As protests continued today, home Office minister Victoria Atkins said she took last night's events 'very seriously' but that she wanted to give the commissioner 'a chance to explain' what happened

As protests continued today, home Office minister Victoria Atkins said she took last night's events 'very seriously' but that she wanted to give the commissioner 'a chance to explain' what happened

As protests continued today, home Office minister Victoria Atkins said she took last night’s events ‘very seriously’ but that she wanted to give the commissioner ‘a chance to explain’ what happened

Women held banners calling to 'end state violence' and 'defund the police' in demonstrations outside London's police headquarters

Women held banners calling to 'end state violence' and 'defund the police' in demonstrations outside London's police headquarters

Women held banners calling to ‘end state violence’ and ‘defund the police’ in demonstrations outside London’s police headquarters

The protesters chanted against police at New Scotland Yard before marching to Parliament Square where they staged a lie-in

The protesters chanted against police at New Scotland Yard before marching to Parliament Square where they staged a lie-in

The protesters chanted against police at New Scotland Yard before marching to Parliament Square where they staged a lie-in

The demonstrators held aloft their fists and chanted slogans such as 'f*** the police' and 'f*** Priti Patel'

The demonstrators held aloft their fists and chanted slogans such as 'f*** the police' and 'f*** Priti Patel'

The demonstrators held aloft their fists and chanted slogans such as ‘f*** the police’ and ‘f*** Priti Patel’

 

Well-wishers gather beside floral tributes to honour murder victim Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common in south London on March 14

Well-wishers gather beside floral tributes to honour murder victim Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common in south London on March 14

Well-wishers gather beside floral tributes to honour murder victim Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common in south London on March 14

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick arrives at New Scotland Yard in London, the day after clashes between police and crowds who gathered on Clapham Common on Saturday night

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick arrives at New Scotland Yard in London, the day after clashes between police and crowds who gathered on Clapham Common on Saturday night

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick arrives at New Scotland Yard in London, the day after clashes between police and crowds who gathered on Clapham Common on Saturday night

Jess Phillips on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show, where she called for better funding and resources for education to prevent violence against women

Jess Phillips on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show, where she called for better funding and resources for education to prevent violence against women

Jess Phillips on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show, where she called for better funding and resources for education to prevent violence against women

A woman was arrested by a police officer in Clapham Common this evening as police tried to break it up

A woman was arrested by a police officer in Clapham Common this evening as police tried to break it up

A woman was arrested by a police officer in Clapham Common this evening as police tried to break it up 

Dame Cressida Dick defends her position and officers’ response to Sarah Everard vigil

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida has said she is not considering her position following wide criticism of the policing of a vigil for Sarah Everard on Saturday.

She said: ‘What happened to Sarah appalls me. As you know, I’m the first woman commissioner of the Met, perhaps it appalls me, in a way, even more because of that.

‘What has happened makes me more determined, not less, to lead my organisation.

‘I’ve listened to what people have been saying in the last week, I know that in the streets all across the UK women don’t feel as safe as we would all like women to feel. I am utterly determined.’

She added: ‘My view is, I’m entirely focused on growing the Met to be even stronger.’

‘All the women and men of the Met are outraged at what has happened and they’re working as hard as they can to get justice for Sarah.

‘In that context, none of us would have wanted to see the scenes we saw at the end of yesterday’s events.

‘It’s worth saying, of course, I fully understand the strength of feeling I think as a woman hearing from people about their experiences in the past and what they feel about what happened to Sarah and what has been going on, I understand why so many people wanted to come and pay their respects and make a statement about this.

‘Indeed, if it had been lawful, I’d have been there, I’d have been at a vigil. And six hours of yesterday was really calm and peaceful, very few police officers around, respectful, people laying flowers, not gathering, and a vigil that did not breach the regulations.

‘Unfortunately, later on, we had a really big crowd that gathered, lots of speeches and quite rightly, as far as I can see, my team felt this is now an unlawful gathering which poses a considerable risk to people’s health according to the regulations.’

The commissioner said she was ‘very comfortable’ with, a review into the events at the vigil, adding that it would be ‘good for public confidence’.

She added: ‘What we do in one event sets precedent for other events. I am really comfortable that we review what happened.

‘I don’t think anybody who was not in the operation can actually pass a detailed comment on the rightness and wrongness of it.

‘This is fiendishly difficult policing but also I’m sure for the people who wanted to express their feelings, that was a difficult situation for them and that’s why it needs a cold light of day, sober review – and I think we’re all agreed on that.’

Dame Cressida, who was appointed in 2017, said the officers were in an ‘invidious’ position when crowds grew, continuing: ‘They then moved to try to explain to people, to engage with people, to get people to disperse from this unlawful gathering and many, many, many people did – unfortunately, a small minority did not.’

Asked what she thought when she saw the pictures of the policing at the vigil, she said: ‘I wouldn’t have wanted to see a vigil in memory of Sarah end with those scenes.

‘That’s why this morning I said, from what I can tell, I wasn’t there, but from what I can tell, my officers – in a very difficult position, as they have been again and again in the last year policing within coronavirus restrictions, having to uphold the law, having to be impartial, having to be fair.

‘But of course trying to apply common sense and discretion and if people don’t understand the law, trying to help them to understand and engage and speak before we ever turn to any enforcement, but that is why I said we didn’t want it to end like that, let’s have a review.’

She continued: ‘I spoke in the day to both the Home Secretary and the mayor, I’m very comfortable with that and I think officers will be as well.’   

Asked if she felt she owed an apology to her frontline officers, Dame Cressida said: ‘I feel for my officers, I feel for them every day.’

She added: ‘I completely recognise that they are, particularly in this last year, often finding themselves in very very difficult situations, they are policing during a pandemic. Nobody wants a third wave to happen.

‘It’s only a few weeks since the NHS was on its knees. They have a really difficult job, they have to make fine judgments, they often don’t have infinite information or all the time in the world.

‘They have to make these really difficult calls and I don’t think anybody should be sitting back in an armchair and saying ‘well that was done badly’ or ‘I would have done it differently’ without actually understanding what was going through their minds.

‘I guarantee that every single officer who was policing last night, like me, would rather we were not in the time of coronavirus. There could be a large, peaceful set of vigils all over the country.

‘Most of them would have been at those vigils and I guarantee also that my officers up and down London and beyond, if they weren’t working, will have been thinking of Sarah at 9:30pm last night, they will have been lighting their candles or pausing, and it’s something we care about very, very deeply.’

<!—->

Advertisement

‘I think the main point of this… is that women don’t feel safe, and they don’t feel safe walking down a street. And that’s the bare minimum we should feel the freedom to do, and I think it’s appalling that it’s gone on for this long.’

Campaign group Reclaim These Streets said: ‘We’ve asked Met Commissioner Cressida Dick to meet us urgently to explain the actions taken by the police last night – before she reports to the Home Secretary.

‘The @metpoliceuk must begin to rebuild relations with women who have lost trust and are hurting. #ReclaimTheseStreets’.

Mr Khan said he would be asking HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Office for Police Conduct to look into the events on Saturday night, adding that the scenes at the vigil were ‘completely unacceptable’, despite having received assurances from Scotland Yard last week that it would be policed ‘sensitively’.

‘In my view, this was not the case,’ he said.

Mr Khan 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.

‘I am not satisfied with the explanation they have provided.

‘I will now be asking Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to conduct a full independent investigation of events yesterday evening and in previous days.

‘I am also asking the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to investigate the actions of police officers yesterday evening.

‘It is vital that these events are not allowed to undermine the powerful calls since Sarah’s murder for meaningful action to finally stop men inflicting violence on women.

‘It was clear before yesterday that there isn’t adequate trust and confidence from women and girls in the police and criminal justice system more widely.

‘Further steps must now be taken to address this.’

Jess Phillips has said more needs to be done to bring charges in domestic abuse and rape cases, telling The Andrew Marr Show: ‘I don’t think that the police over the past few years have done enough to increase charging in domestic abuse, have done enough to increase charging in rape. Both are reducing.’

Also asked about whether Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick should resign, she said: ‘This is not the day for me to say whether she should go and give a headline to Cressida Dick when Sarah Everard is the name that should ring out.’

Addressing the police’s management of the vigil in south London, Ms Phillips said: ‘There were a million ways that that could have been organised but the police put their foot down before they put their boot in and at every stage they made the wrong call.’

Andrew Marr suggested that individual police forces have had to make their own decisions about policy due to unclear coronavirus legislation.

She said: ‘I think that the police have had a terrible job throughout this process of being able to properly understand, and let’s face it, they don’t have the resources after years of being dwindled away to actually properly deal with some of the things that they might be being asked to do.

‘But the reality is within the legislation that has been nodded through, there was room for, yesterday, a peaceful vigil to take place and they missed the opportunity.’

The protesters brought homemade placards to Sunday's demonstrations

The protesters brought homemade placards to Sunday's demonstrations

Hundreds gathered despite police warnings

Hundreds gathered despite police warnings

The protesters brought homemade placards to Sunday’s demonstrations outside Scotland Yard as hundreds gathered despite police warnings

A gravestone shaped placard and a floral tribute left outside New Scotland Yard in London today, after clashes between police and crowds who gathered on Clapham Common on Saturday night

A gravestone shaped placard and a floral tribute left outside New Scotland Yard in London today, after clashes between police and crowds who gathered on Clapham Common on Saturday night

A gravestone shaped placard and a floral tribute left outside New Scotland Yard in London today, after clashes between police and crowds who gathered on Clapham Common on Saturday night

Home made placards targeted Home Secretary Priti Patel and head of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick

Home made placards targeted Home Secretary Priti Patel and head of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick

Home made placards targeted Home Secretary Priti Patel and head of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick 

Statement from Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball following events in Clapham Common 

‘May I start by extending my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sarah Everard. Across the Met we are still extremely saddened and shocked by the tragic circumstance of her disappearance and death.

‘Earlier tonight, I joined the Commissioner in a candlelit vigil outside New Scotland Yard. I know many thousands of people up and down the nation also held similar vigils in Sarah’s name.

‘I recognise that the decision by the organisers to cancel the Reclaim These Streets vigil in Clapham Common was deeply unwelcome news. Even so, given the ever present threat of Coronavirus, this was the right decision to make.

‘Today, for over six hours hundreds of people came to lay flowers and pay their respects to Sarah in Clapham Common in a safe and lawful way.

‘Around 6pm, more people began to gather close to the bandstand within the Common. Some started to make speeches from the bandstand. These speeches then attracted more people to gather closer together.

‘At this point, officers on the ground were faced with a very difficult decision. Hundreds of people were packed tightly together, posing a very real risk of easily transmitting Covid-19.

‘Police must act for people’s safety, this is the only responsible thing to do. The pandemic is not over and gatherings of people from right across London and beyond, are still not safe.

‘Those who gathered were spoken to by officers on a number of occasions and over an extended period of time. We repeatedly encouraged those who were there to comply with the law and leave. Regrettably, a small minority of people began chanting at officers, pushing and throwing items.

‘After speaking with officers, the vast majority of people quickly left. Four arrests have been made for public order offences and for breaches of the Health Protection Regulations.

‘Part of the reason I am speaking to you tonight is because we accept that the actions of our officers have been questioned.

‘We absolutely did not want to be in a position where enforcement action was necessary. But we were placed in this position because of the overriding need to protect people’s safety.

‘Let me end by saying that across the Met, we review every single event that we police to see if there are lessons that can be learnt. This one will be no different.’

<!—->

Advertisement

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, head of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), was asked about the under-reporting of crimes against women.

He told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One: ‘What we have reported over many years through the crime survey that we do jointly with the Home Office is that there is a very large under-reporting both of rape and of assault, which includes penetration.

‘Indeed in some of our more recent figures we show that really there are only about a third that are reported to the police, and then very many few of those go to prosecution.

‘One of the reasons why we think it’s incredibly important to do these crime surveys – because it gives people a chance to have a voice.’

Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC said there was no real prospect of police successfully intervening in the crowd in Clapham on Saturday night, describing the circling of the bandstand as ‘quasi military’

She said: ‘To push people away seems to me to be a dreadful piece of misjudgment. 

‘Are they really improving the chances of Covid not spreading by putting their knees in the middle of the back of young women, and putting their hands in handcuffs? 

‘It didn’t seem to me to be the right thing to do.’ 

Reclaim These Streets had organised the vigil before being forced to cancel following consultation with the Metropolitan Police, which said it would be in breach in coronavirus restrictions.

After the clashes, organiser Jamie Klingler said the force’s handling of events was a sign of the ‘systemic ignoring and oppressing of women’.  

‘I think we were shocked and really, really sad and to see videos of policemen handling women at a vigil about violence against women by men. I think it was it was painful and pretty triggering to see,’ she said.

‘The fact that nobody stepped in and said: ”do you see how this looks?”. 

‘The fact that Thursday and Friday they wasted our organising time by dragging us to the High Court for our human rights to protest and we were going to have a silent vigil.’

She added: ‘I was bringing my tiny dog, and we were absolutely doing it to have a silent, respectful protest for Sarah Everard, and for all the women affected by violence at the hands of men.

‘Especially today, it’s Mother’s Day. It’s the week of International Women’s Day. 

‘And instead of allowing and facilitating it like the Lambeth police wanted to – and that police force was so supportive – Scotland Yard quashed us and in doing so silenced us and got the reaction they got last night.’

The Met Police defended its handling of a high-profile protest calling for greater public safety for women, after male officers were seen scuffling with the crowd and physically restraining female demonstrators. 

Well-wishers react as they gather at floral tributes to honour murder victim Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common in south London on March 14

Well-wishers react as they gather at floral tributes to honour murder victim Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common in south London on March 14

Well-wishers react as they gather at floral tributes to honour murder victim Sarah Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common in south London on March 14

In the early hours of Sunday, Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said police were put into a position ‘where enforcement action was necessary’. She said: ‘Hundreds of people were packed tightly together, posing a very real risk of easily transmitting Covid-19.

‘Police must act for people’s safety, this is the only responsible thing to do. The pandemic is not over and gatherings of people from right across London and beyond, are still not safe.

‘Those who gathered were spoken to by officers on a number of occasions and over an extended period of time. We repeatedly encouraged those who were there to comply with the law and leave. Regrettably, a small minority of people began chanting at officers, pushing and throwing items.’

HOW CRESSIDA DICK ROSE TO BECOME THE MET’S TOP OFFICER

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service Cressida Dick

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service Cressida Dick

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service Cressida Dick

Cressida Dick was born in 1960 and grew up in Oxford before attending the city’s university as an undergraduate at Baliol College.

She graduated in 1982 and, after briefly working at an accountancy firm, joined the Met Police in 1983.

She started on patrols in the west end of London and worked as a Sergeant in south-west London and an Inspector for five years in Peckham.

She joined Thames Valley Police as a Superintendent, where she oversaw policing in her home city of Oxford.

After completing a Masters’s degree in criminology, she returned to the Met in 2001 as a Commander.

She received specialist ‘shoot-to-kill’ firearms training which made her eligible for head terror alert operations following the 7/7 attacks.

She was criticised for her role in the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005 – a Brazilian electrician who had been mistaken for a suicide bomber by police marksmen amid high alert following 7/7. But she was cleared of blame for his death in 2007.

She was given the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service in 2010.

In 2013 BBC4’s Women’s Hour named her as one of the 100 most powerful women in Britain, and she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s 2015 New Year Honour’s List.

She came out of retirement to take the role of outgoing commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe in February 2017.

<!—->

Advertisement

The force said it will conduct an inquiry into what happened and ‘accepts the actions of our officers have been questioned’ but added officers wanted to ‘act to ensure public safety’.

Elisabeth Chapple, leader of the Met’s South West Command Unit for Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Wandsworth, said: ‘To all the public, communities, partners, critical friends, police officers, staff and volunteers of South West London, I know and understand that this morning we are in a difficult place. We will work hard, with you, to re-build trust and hope there are many better days to come.’  

Hundreds of mourners, estimated at around 1,500, defied lockdown rules to gather to lay tributes at the bandstand in Clapham Common – near where Miss Everard was last seen alive before her disappearance. 

Footage posted to social media this evening showed a tussle between Met Police officers and some of the crowd as some shouted ‘you are scum’ following the brief clash. One woman screamed ‘you’re supposed to protect us’.

Politicians from across all three main political parties condemned the scenes – which are expected to throw a spotlight on Commissioner Dick’s handling of the force.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Liberal Democrats’ Sir Ed and Conservative MP Steve Baker were among parliamentarians to condemn the heavy-handed approach, as Mr Baker called events in Clapham ‘unspeakable scenes’.   

Earlier on Saturday, mourners broke down in tears as they paid their respects to the 33-year-old marketing manager who disappeared on her way home from visiting a friend on March 3. 

It comes after Scotland Yard confirmed human remains found in Kent belonged to Ms Everard. On Saturday, serving police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, was remanded in custody after appearing in Westminster Magistrates’ court charged with kidnap and murder. 

The court heard Miss Everard’s body was found inside a builder’s bag and identified through the use of dental records.  

During the impromptu vigil, an unnamed anti-lockdown protester had to be escorted away by police officers after he stood on the bandstand to rant about not being able to see his friends. He was met with a chorus of shouts as one woman screamed ‘this isn’t about you’ and another added ‘this woman has died’. 

As scenes turned violent after sunset, politicians joined forces to condemn the Met Police’s approach. Liberal Democrats deputy leader Daisy Cooper tweeted that the scenes in Clapham were ‘disgusting and completely avoidable’.

The Home Secretary Ms Patel tweeted: ‘Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting. I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened. My thoughts remain with Sarah’s family and friends at this terrible time.’ 

London Mayor Mr Khan tweeted: ‘The scenes from Clapham Common are unacceptable. 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. I’m contact with the Commissioner & urgently seeking an explanation.’

A sign saying "STOP KILLING US" is seen among the flowers and candles on Clapham Common

A sign saying "STOP KILLING US" is seen among the flowers and candles on Clapham Common

A sign saying ‘STOP KILLING US’ is seen among the flowers and candles on Clapham Common

Police officers arrive to police a gathering at the band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard, which was officially cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, was to take place on Clapham Common, south London on March 13

Police officers arrive to police a gathering at the band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard, which was officially cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, was to take place on Clapham Common, south London on March 13

Police officers arrive to police a gathering at the band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard, which was officially cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, was to take place on Clapham Common, south London on March 13

People gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common Bandstand, following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, in London, March 13

People gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common Bandstand, following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, in London, March 13

People gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common Bandstand, following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, in London, March 13

Well-wishers gather at the band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of Sarah Everard - which was officially cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions was to place on Clapham Common, south London on March 13

Well-wishers gather at the band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of Sarah Everard - which was officially cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions was to place on Clapham Common, south London on March 13

Well-wishers gather at the band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of Sarah Everard – which was officially cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions was to place on Clapham Common, south London on March 13

Tense scenes on Clapham Common, south London on Saturday after hundreds of women gathered to pay tribute to Miss Everard

Tense scenes on Clapham Common, south London on Saturday after hundreds of women gathered to pay tribute to Miss Everard

Tense scenes on Clapham Common, south London on Saturday after hundreds of women gathered to pay tribute to Miss Everard

Police detain a woman as people gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common bandstand on Saturday night

Police detain a woman as people gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common bandstand on Saturday night

Police detain a woman as people gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common bandstand on Saturday night

Police officers kept watch from the bandstand in Clapham Common on Saturday night as clashes continued

Police officers kept watch from the bandstand in Clapham Common on Saturday night as clashes continued

Police officers kept watch from the bandstand in Clapham Common on Saturday night as clashes continued

Hundreds of mourners defied social distancing measures to gather at Clapham Common on Saturday night

Hundreds of mourners defied social distancing measures to gather at Clapham Common on Saturday night

Hundreds of mourners defied social distancing measures to gather at Clapham Common on Saturday night

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: ‘The scenes in Clapham this evening are deeply disturbing. 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.’ 

‘I am a woman, I am a police officer, I am very proud of being both’: Female PC’s view of Clapham vigil clashes 

A female police officer has voiced her opinion after watching violent scenes unfold at the vigil for Sarah Everard. 

In a Twitter thread which has rake in more than 1,500 likes, the user, PC_Milk, wrote: ‘It started with mainly only female officers overlooking a civil vigil.

‘When numbers grew and social distancing seized more officers were called.

‘When police officers tried to crowd control and remove people from stamping on flowers for Sarah they refused.

‘Then it kicked off.

‘Then I saw and heard my colleagues being abused. They were called murderers, rapists, a female colleague was told it should have been her. And we were told to arrest each other. This is not ok. #ReclaimTheStreets.

‘Then I saw people being arrested and my colleagues being assaulted when trying to transport said prisoner.

‘Then I saw our vehicles being vandalised with spray with the word ACAB and a mirror being smashed.

‘Then I thought what would Sarah’s family think about this?

‘Sarah’s family and friends have been so gracious under the circumstances. I do not believe they would want this to happen. If it was me I would not want this to happen. Stop think and be civil we are all humans and we all are angry at what happened. We do not need more violence.

‘I am a woman. I am a police officer. I am very proud of being both. This week has me exhausted. Physically from the job and mentally by all this.

‘We are not at fault for what happened because if we knew we would have done what we could to stop it.

‘To finalise this rant, to my colleagues: I am proud of you. You were insulted beyond what we are used to. We stand by our uniform, we’re proud to carry this warrant card so we can uphold the great office of Constable. Thank you for being there today hope you are all ok.’

<!—->

Advertisement

Earlier in the day he tweeted: ‘Tonight I will light a candle for Sarah Everard. The whole country’s thoughts are with Sarah’s friends and family at this awful time.

‘Violence against women and girls is still far too common. I will do everything I can to help make our streets safe and to end this injustice.’

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn shared a picture of candles on his windowsill, tweeting: ‘Women must be safe on our streets. Solidarity with Sarah. Women must be safe to walk peacefully everywhere.’

‘The Met Police must answer for their actions at Clapham Common this evening,’ he added.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has called for Dame Cressida to ‘consider’ her leadership of the force.

In a letter to the Commissioner, he wrote: ‘The scenes this evening of the policing of the Clapham Common vigil in memory of Sarah Everard are utterly disgraceful and shame the Metropolitan Police.

‘The vigil this evening was a peaceful one brought together in the most horrific of circumstances.

‘Across the country, countless women have told their own painful stories of harassment and abuse. Your officers should have been standing in solidarity with those on Clapham Common tonight not being ordered to disrupt this display of grief and peaceful protest.

‘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.’

Conservative candidate for London mayor Shaun Bailey said: ‘The scenes at Sarah Everard’s vigil in Clapham tonight are horrifying.

‘With ultimate responsibility for policing and public safety in London, the Mayor must immediately explain how these events were allowed to unfold.

‘If Sadiq Khan wasn’t involved in tonight’s operational decision making, given the significance of tonight’s vigil, he should have made sure he was.

‘If he was involved – he has serious questions to answer.’

Fellow London Mayor hopeful Laurence Fox wrote: ‘Appalling and heavy handed policing of a vigil to a murdered woman in London. The public cannot maintain trust in a police force that is seen to be applying different set of rules to different protests depending on the political motivation of the protest.’ 

Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy tweeted footage of the clashes at Clapham Common. ‘This could have been the socially distanced vigil the community needed to remember Sarah and all the women who have lost their lives to violence. We knew what was going to happen if the event was shut down.’

She added: ‘I know Lambeth Borough officers made efforts to compromise with the organisers but were overruled from high up.’They’ll be left to deal with the fallout of this and the further burden it places on already strained community relationships. Very disappointing from Scotland Yard.’

People clash with police during a gathering at a memorial site in Clapham Common

People clash with police during a gathering at a memorial site in Clapham Common

People clash with police during a gathering at a memorial site in Clapham Common

Police clash with mourners at a vigil in Clapham Common, south London, on Saturday after the event was officially cancelled

Police clash with mourners at a vigil in Clapham Common, south London, on Saturday after the event was officially cancelled

Police clash with mourners at a vigil in Clapham Common, south London, on Saturday after the event was officially cancelled

LONDON: Fights broke out as people battled against police officers on Saturday evening in Clapham Common

LONDON: Fights broke out as people battled against police officers on Saturday evening in Clapham Common

Fights broke out as people battled against police officers on Saturday evening in Clapham Common

Police officers blocked people from accessing the bandstand as those in the crowd held up candles

Police officers blocked people from accessing the bandstand as those in the crowd held up candles

Police officers blocked people from accessing the bandstand as those in the crowd held up candles

Police attempt to break up a vigil for Ms Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common

Police attempt to break up a vigil for Ms Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common

Police attempt to break up a vigil for Ms Everard at the bandstand on Clapham Common

LONDON: The bandstand was surrounded by flowers laid three-foot deep as people gathered for a vigil

LONDON: The bandstand was surrounded by flowers laid three-foot deep as people gathered for a vigil

The bandstand was surrounded by flowers laid three-foot deep as people gathered for a vigil

One video posted online showed Metropolitan Police officers grabbing women stood within the bandstand in Clapham Common before leading them away, to screaming and shouting from onlookers. 

Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted: ‘The MET police have acted terribly and caused great harm and hurt. Millions of women are angry and in grief, Sarah Everard’s horrific murder and the millions of acts of assault women face every day are why women created this vigil.’

He added: ‘I am an ally. #ReclaimTheseStreets.’

Conservative MP Steve Baker described events in Clapham as ‘unspeakable scenes’.

‘You need to change lockdown law now @BorisJohnson,’ he tweeted.

Mr Baker has been a prominent campaigner from the backbenches for a faster loosening of coronavirus restrictions than planned by the Government. 

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes wrote: ‘Truly shocked at the scenes from Clapham Common – in this country we police by consent – not by trampling the tributes to a woman who was murdered and dragging other women to the ground. Badly misjudged by #metpolice’

Labour MP Harriet Harman wrote: ‘Met mishandled vigil plan from the outset. They should have reached agreement. Terrible scenes in Clapham. I don’t want to see any of these women in court.’

Another, MP Paula Barker, said: ‘These scenes of Police manhandling women who had come to mourn the death of Sarah Everard are deeply disturbing. Serious questions need to be raised.’

And Labour MP David Lammy added: ‘Women should have been able to mourn the death of Sarah Everard in peace. The images of male police officers manhandling women at this moment of national trauma are distressing. The way this was policed was wrong and lessons must be learned.’ 

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds described the scenes in Clapham as ‘deeply distressing’.

‘I share the anger there is about the policing of this and lessons need to be learned,’ he tweeted. ‘People should have been able to mark this moment peacefully and safely. This is a national moment for change.

‘Women across the country have shared powerful testimonies of unacceptable abuse and the desperate, long overdue, need for change. We need to find a way for people to show solidarity safely, and in a Covid-safe way.

‘At the heart of this we should also keep at the forefront of our minds the anguish that Sarah Everard’s family must be going through and prioritise finding ways to support them.’

A Reclaim These Streets event was due to be held tonight at the bandstand on Clapham Common, near where Ms Everard went missing, but organisers yesterday failed to secure a High Court ruling that lockdown – which bans gatherings – should not stop their right to protest.  

Despite urging people to conduct a vigil at their doorstep with a candle, hundreds of people arrived at Clapham Common this evening and similar gatherings have been held in Bournemouth, Leeds, Cambridge and Bristol. 

Following violence at vigils, Reclaim These Streets said it was ‘deeply saddened and angered by the scene of police officers physically manhandling women at a vigil against male violence’.

A spokesman added: ‘From the start Reclaim These Streets set out to work closely with the Met to ensure this vigil could go ahead safely, so women could stand together peacefully and safely to remember Sarah Everard and all the women lost to male violence.

‘The Metropolitan Police failed to work with us despite the High Court ruling yesterday that a vigil could potentially go ahead lawfully. In doing so they created a risky and unsafe situation. It is their responsibility to protect public order, public health and the right to protest – they failed tonight on all accounts.

‘All the time they spent fighting us on a legal claim that the Judge agreed should not have been necessary and was caused by the Metropolitan Police’s stance, they could’ve been working with us to ensure the vigil went ahead in a safe way. The Judge was clear and the Metropolitan Police conceded minutes before the hearing, that there was no blanket ban on protest under the current law. They then had an opportunity – and a responsibility to work with us safely and within the law.

‘This week of all weeks the police should have understood that women would need a place to mourn, reflect and show solidarity. Now is the time for the police and the Government to recognise that the criminal justice system is failing women. Tonight, it has failed women again, in the most destructive way. We will keep fighting for women’s voices to be heard and to matter.’ 

The vigil was planned for Saturday in memory of marketing executive Sarah Everard

The vigil was planned for Saturday in memory of marketing executive Sarah Everard

The vigil was planned for Saturday in memory of marketing executive Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home to Brixton on March 3

A well-wisher places a tribute on the growing pile from a gap in a police cordon at the band-stand

A well-wisher places a tribute on the growing pile from a gap in a police cordon at the band-stand

A well-wisher places a tribute on the growing pile from a gap in a police cordon at the band-stand

One woman held up a sign that read 'we live in fear. Not all survive. Police do not protect us' in Clapham

One woman held up a sign that read 'we live in fear. Not all survive. Police do not protect us' in Clapham

One woman held up a sign that read ‘we live in fear. Not all survive. Police do not protect us’ in Clapham 

A man is pictured kneeling on the group next to a man in a balaclave on Clapham Common on Saturday

A man is pictured kneeling on the group next to a man in a balaclave on Clapham Common on Saturday

A man is pictured kneeling on the group next to a man in a balaclave on Clapham Common on Saturday

Campaign group Sisters Uncut, which had representatives attending the Clapham vigil, tweeted: ‘As soon as the sun went down, police stormed the bandstand. We do NOT answer to violent men.’

The account posted: ‘Stay safe. Know your rights: ‘NO COMMENT’ if cops talk to you. If police ask you to do anything, ask ‘am I legally obliged to?’. if they say yes, ask ‘under what power?” 

Sisters Uncut tweeted claiming ‘male police officers waited for the sun to set before they started grabbing and manhandling women in the crowd’.

After the clashes in Clapham, Charlotte Nichols, shadow minister for women and equalities, tweeted: ‘If  @metpoliceuk had put the resources into assisting @ReclaimTS to hold the covid-secure vigil originally planned that they put into stopping any collective show of grief and solidarity (both through the courts and a heavy-handed physical response), we’d all be in a better place.’ 

Female MPs have strongly criticised the Met’s handling of the vigil.

Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse tweeted: ‘Is this really 21st century Britain? What is our police doing? Whatever has happened to policing for the community on behalf of the community?’

And Labour’s Sarah Owen posted: ‘This is heartbreaking and maddening to watch. No one can see these scenes and think that this has been handled anything but badly by @metpoliceuk. It could and should have been so different.’

Gracie Bradley, interim director of human rights group Liberty, said: ‘Police were given the choice on how to approach this protest. They could have worked with organisers to ensure people could collectively grieve and protest a lack of protection.

‘But instead they chose aggressive interventions that put people’s health at risk and led to chaos and distress.

‘The true architect of this disaster is the Home Secretary, who has relentlessly demonised protesters and refused to support a protest exemption to the lockdown rules.

‘She has undermined a vital pillar of democracy in the process, and pitched police against the public by encouraging aggressive enforcement against those who take to the streets to dissent.’

More than 100 people defied a police request to stay away from a Birmingham city centre vigil to remember Sarah Everard. 

Event organisers had called off the gathering earlier in the day following discussions with West Midlands Police, but people still attended.

The force had warned those still intending to show up that ‘current Covid-19 regulations do not permit large gatherings’.

However, the hour-long vigil, which was addressed by several speakers and included a minute’s silence for Ms Everard, passed off without incident and with no obvious sign of uniformed police.

One woman, addressing the Birmingham vigil, said: ‘The police have prevented this, but despite that we have still come out in a pretty decent number.

‘I think we should all be really proud of the fact that we have stood our ground anyway.’

She added: ‘One of the reasons I am here today is not just to acknowledge the tragic, awful thing that happened to Sarah, but also the countless women who are going to be dying because of the system.’  

Link hienalouca.com

Advertising:

Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

(Total views: 3 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply