Home Secretary Priti Patel asks for 'external view' of vigil policing

Home Secretary Priti Patel asks for 'external view' of vigil policing


The Home Secretary Priti Patel has called for an "external view" of decisions taken regarding the policing of a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard on Saturday. Organisers said they cancelled a vigil originally planned at Clapham Common because police did not "constructively engage" with logistics

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also wants an independent investigation of Met Police actions at the event on Clapham Common.

The police have been criticised after they were seen handcuffing woman and leading them away.

Ms Patel said she had read a report from police chief Cressida Dick, but "questions still need to be answered".

Mr Khan said he too had spoken to Dame Cressida at a meeting in City Hall on Sunday, but added: "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."

Several hundred people gathered on Clapham Common on Saturday evening to pay tribute to 33-year-old - whose death has prompted a public debate over women's safety - despite Covid restrictions.

The official vigil had been called off earlier in the day after organisers said the force had failed to "constructively engage" on how it could be held in a Covid-secure way.

Organisers Reclaim These Streets had urged mourners to light candles and shine other lights on their doorsteps at 21:30 GMT - to coincide with the time Ms Everard was last seen on 3 March.

One video posted online from the vigil at Clapham Common showed officers removing women who were standing by the bandstand.

Cries of "shame on you" and "let them go" could be heard from onlookers. The video showed them being put in a police van and driven away.

Jamie Klingler, from Reclaim These Streets, which had been organising the official vigil, said the event would have been "a lot safer" if it had been held officially, adding the group had 50 stewards who were "trained and ready to go".

Police said four arrests were made at the vigil to "protect people's safety".

"We told the Met that it was going to be worse if we didn't have the organisation that we already had planned that was Covid-safe," she said.

The group added in a statement that it was asking Dame Cressida "to meet us urgently" to explain the actions taken by police.

The Met defended its response to the vigil, saying it was the "only responsible thing to do" to ensure public safety. But the force added that a review will be carried out to see if "lessons can be learned".

A woman at the gathering in Clapham Common hold a sign that reads: "Killed by the system we're told protects"