Cressida Dick not considering resigning over Sarah Everard vigil policing fiasco


Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has refused to resign over claims police ‘manhandled’ women at a Sarah Everard vigil.

The police boss said ‘unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings’ in response to criticism of her officers at last night’s vigil in Clapham Common in London.

Hundreds of people descended on the park to pay their respects to Ms Everard, who was found dead this week, despite police objections due to Covid restrictions.

Dick has now revealed she would have attended the event herself had it been lawful.

Following the violent clashes, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, demanded a ‘full, independent’ probe into policing after shocking clashes between officers and women at the gathering.

Police officers were criticised for ‘manhandling’ women at the vigil

Mr Khan said officers’ behaviour was “completely unacceptable”.

However, Dick today told reporters: “We’re still in a pandemic, unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings, officers have to take action if people are putting themselves massively at risk.

“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.

The vigil was held in honour of Sarah Everard who was found dead this week after going missing while walking home

Cressida Dick has backed her officers over their actions in Clapham Common last night

“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.”

Mr Khan said he had asked both Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Office for Police Conduct to investigate the actions of police officers at the vigil.

Sarah Everard vigil
Hundreds gathered at Clapham Common to pay their respects to Ms Everard

Bouquets of flowers surrounded the bandstand in Clapham Common

The Mirror understands Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked Sir Tom Winsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary to investigate the events of yesterday evening.

Mr Khan said he had asked Met Commissioner Cressida Dick and her deputy to come to City Hall to offer an explanation.

“I am not satisfied with the explanation they have provided,” he said in a statement.

Police grabbed and dragged away a number of women who were stood within the bandstand on Clapham Common, prompting jeers and screams from the crowd.

More people were detained amid pushing and shoving after police asked the crowd to leave, telling the mourners the gathering was in breach of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, though many refused.

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