Boris Johnson has said he was “deeply concerned” by video footage which showed police officers detaining women at the vigil of Sarah Everard on Saturday (13 March).
In ugly scenes on Saturday, officers clashed with crowds gathered on Clapham Common to remember the 33-year-old marketing executive who went missing while walking home from a friend’s flat on March 3.
The Metropolitan Police has now faced criticism in regards to how they handled the vigil, with calls being made for Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign.
The Prime Minister said: “I have spoken with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who has committed to reviewing how this was handled, and the Home Secretary has also commissioned HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to conduct a lessons learned review into the policing of the event.”
Commissioner Dick has resisted calls to quit over what happened on Saturday evening, and said that what happened to Ms Everard made her “more determined, not less” to lead the organisation. She also welcomed Home Secretary Priti Patel’s request for an independent investigation into the events over the weekend.
London mayor Sadiq Khan has also said he would be asking the Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Office for Police Conduct to look into the events.
What will happen now?
The Prime Minister is expected to chair a meeting of the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce with Commissioner Dick on Monday (15 March).
Mr Johnson said he will “chair a meeting of the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce to look at what further action we need to take to protect women and ensure our streets are safe.
“The death of Sarah Everard must unite us in determination to drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to protect and defend them.”
The Home Secretary will be in attendance at the meeting, as well as Justice Secretary Robert Buckland and director of public prosecutions Max Hill.
However, shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has criticised the Government’s response to Saturday’s events, disapproving of the holding of “yet more meetings and another consultation” at a moment when the country is “demanding action to tackle violence against women and girls”.
Nimco Ali, who is advising the Government on tackling violence against women and girls, compared the force’s behaviour with an abuser.
She told Times Radio: “It does come from a handbook of abusive men, where the fact that you’re constantly blaming the victim for your act of violence.
“So rather than actually taking accountability, it was more like ‘women shouldn’t have turned up’.”
The Metropolitan Police said four people were arrested for public order and coronavirus regulation breaches.