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14th Mar 2021

Met Police chief will not resign over Sarah Everard vigil response

Simon Lloyd

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

Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Met Police, has insisted she is not considering stepping down, despite calls for her to resign over the handling of Saturday’s vigil for Sarah Everard.

Hundreds attended the event at Clapham Common, peacefully paying their respects to Sarah, who went missing on Wednesday of last week while walking home from a friend’s home. A serving Met police officer has been charged with her kidnap and murder.

Many saw the large police presence around the vigil as unnecessary and officers have also been accused of using disproportionate force in handcuffing some of the women who were in attendance.

As well as the hashtag #ArrestYourOwn trending on Twitter in the UK, there were also calls for Dick to stand down as footage of the police’s handling of the situation was shared across social media.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has since called for an investigation into the force’s decisions at the event.

Asked on Sky News if she was considering her position, Dick said: “No I’m not. 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.”

She added: “I don’t think anyone should be sitting back in an armchair and saying 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 that was policing last night, like me, would rather we were not in a time of coronavirus.

“There could be a large, peaceful set of vigils all over the country, and most of them would’ve 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 9.30 last night… It’s something we care about deeply.”