Police handling of Sarah Everard vigil appropriate, says watchdog 1 year ago

Police handling of Sarah Everard vigil appropriate, says watchdog

A report following the London Metropolitan Police’s handling of a vigil for Sarah Everard has concluded that officers acted appropriately

After the police cancelled an official vigil for Sarah Everard, organised by Reclaim These Streets, violence broke out an unofficial follow-up, where police clashed with members of the public. Several arrests were made as the vigil turned into a protest, with people calling for more accountability among law enforcement.

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Following an investigation into the police intervention, the report ordered by Home Secretary, Priti Patel - who is spearheading the controversial Police and Crime bill - has deemed the police as having acted appropriately and cleared them of being 'heavy-handed'.

The investigation found that "the Metropolitan police was justified in adopting the view that the risks of transmitting Covid-19 at the vigil were too great to ignore when planning for and policing the event”.

The report, released on behalf of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), "review[ed] hundreds of documents, body-worn video from police officers at the vigil and other media, and interviews with the police, vigil organisers and politicians".

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In short, it has been decided that the police did not abuse their powers and did their best to peacefully break up the vigil turned protest. Large majorities of the public disagree, however, with the #ArrestYourOwn trend still circulating and even calls for Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, to resign.

It is worth noting that the police continued to show excessive force during the recent Bristol protests, after which they ultimately retracted their claim of "broken bones" among injured police officers.

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Kill the Bill protests continue around the country and it seems the British public are not letting up. The bill has passed its second reading but is yet to be fully ratified.