Sadiq Khan ‘Not Satisfied’ With Met Commissioner Cressida Dick’s Explanation Of Police Actions
London mayor Sadiq Khan has stated that he is ‘not satisfied’ with the way Metropolitan police commissioner Cressida Dick explained officers’ action at last night’s vigil for Sarah Everard.
Police have been criticised for the way they treated people who gathered at the vigil in Clapham Common last night, March 13, with footage from the event showing officers pushing attendees and holding them to the ground.
Khan met with Dick to discuss the situation following last night’s event, after which he released a statement on Twitter to say that he had received assurances that the vigil ‘would be policed sensitively’, and that the officers’ actions last night were ‘completely unacceptable’.
I completely understand why women, girls and allies wanted to hold a vigil to remember Sarah and all women who have been subjected to violence or lost their lives at the hands of men, and to reclaim the public spaces where women are made to feel so unsafe.
Last week I called on the Government and police to work with organisers of the vigil to clarify the law and find a way for it to take place legally and safely. On Friday a High Court judge made clear there was a window to agree a way for a vigil to go ahead safely.
I received assurances from the Metropolitan Police last week that the vigil would be policed sensitively. In my view, this was not the case.
Khan’s statement is reminiscent of a statement released by the official Reclaim These Streets Twitter account; the organisation that initially planned a vigil for Everard.
The organisation explained that it had ‘set out to work closely with the Met to ensure this vigil could go ahead safely’. It further stated that the Met ‘failed to work with [it] despite the High Court ruling yesterday that a vigil could potentially go ahead lawfully.’
Khan went on to say that he had requested an explanation for the events from Dick and the Met Police deputy commissioner, but that he was ‘not satisfied with the explanation they have provided.’
It is vital that these events are not allowed to undermine the powerful calls since Sarah’s murder for meaningful action to finally stop men inflicting violence on women.
It was clear before yesterday that there isn’t adequate trust and confidence from women and girls in the police and criminal justice system more widely. Further steps must now be taken to address this.
The mayor expressed his plans to request a full independent investigation of officers’ behaviour at the events.
A fundraiser set up by Reclaim These Streets to donate to women’s charitable causes has just passed £500,000 in donations.
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