Patel leads call for independent investigation into Met’s actions at vigil

Home Secretary Priti Patel and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have called for an independent investigation into the actions of the Metropolitan Police during a vigil to commemorate Sarah Everard.

Ms. Patel asked the police chief inspector to conduct a Lessons Learned review after officers clashed with crowds gathering to remember the 33-year-old on Clapham Common.

The Home Secretary spoke to the city police under fire, Dame Cressida Dick, on Sunday after receiving her report on the events on Saturday evening.

“In the interests of confidence in the police force,” Ms. Patel asked Sir Thomas Winsor to conduct an independent review of the events, a government source told the PA news agency.

It came when Mr Khan said he would ask the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Office for Police Conduct to investigate the events.

The mayor said the vigil scenes were “totally unacceptable” despite Scotland Yard’s assurance last week that the vigil would be “sensitively” monitored.

He said: “I asked the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner to come to the City Hall today to explain to me the events of yesterday and the days before them. I am not satisfied with the explanation you gave.

“I’m going to ask Her Majesty’s Police Department now [HMIC] To conduct a full independent investigation into what happened last night and in the past few days. I also ask the Independent Police Conduct Bureau [IOPC] investigating the actions of police officers last night.

“It is important that these events not undermine the powerful demands since Sarah’s murder for sensible action to finally prevent men from inflicting violence on women.

“Before yesterday it was clear that there was insufficient trust of women and girls in the police and criminal justice system in the broader sense. Further steps must now be taken to rectify this.”

Dame Cressida is asked to resign after the clashes in which officers of her armed forces grabbed several women and led them away in handcuffs.

City police later said four people were arrested for violating public order and coronavirus regulations.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey called on Dame Cressida to resign, while Women’s Equality Party’s co-founder Catherine Mayer said her position was “untenable”.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21: UK Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks during a press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic on Downing Street on January 21, 2021 in London, England. Ms. Patel announced a new £ 800 fine for anyone attending illegal events. The fines apply to people who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in private households. (Photo by Matt Dunham - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Labor has not asked Dame Cressida to resign and Jess Phillips, Minister for Domestic Violence in the Shadows, said, “The reality is, if Cressida Dick stays or leaves, women in this country will not be safer and that’s what I want to talk about.”

She said there were “so many missed opportunities for the police to work with organizers to create a completely safe vigil for people to experience a moment of sadness and a moment of resistance”.

A video from the PA news agency showed a woman being forcibly shoved in the back by two officers after she was lifted from her knees.

Patel leads call for independent investigation into Met’s actions at vigil 1

The woman, who has not yet been identified, then tries to bend down near the officers and is pushed back again. You can hear her screaming that she is trying to get her glasses back.

Reclaim These Streets had organized the vigil before it had to be canceled after consulting the Metropolitan Police as it would violate coronavirus restrictions.

She has asked Dame Cressida for an urgent meeting so that she can “explain the action the police took last night before reporting to the Home Secretary”.

After the clashes, organizer Jamie Klingler said the troops’ handling of events was a sign of the “systematic ignoring and oppression of women”.

Hundreds of people gathered in the park in south London despite an official vigil canceled earlier in the day due to police warnings about coronavirus restrictions.

Vigils were also held in places like Glasgow, Nottingham, Birmingham and Bristol.


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