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Policing at Sarah Everard Vigil Faces Official Scrutiny

LONDON — The mayor of London and the British cupboard minister accountable for policing each known as on Sunday for an unbiased investigation into how the town’s major police power broke up a vigil for Sarah Everard, the 33-year-old advertising and marketing govt whose killing has sparked a reckoning over violence in opposition to girls, after photos of officers clashing with girls at the occasion prompted a widespread outcry.

The mayor, Sadiq Khan, mentioned that “scenes arising from the policing of the vigil,” which had been banned beneath coronavirus restrictions, “were completely unacceptable,” and that he was “not satisfied” with explanations from the 2 high officers within the power, the Metropolitan Police.

A spokesman for the Home Office, the federal government division that oversees policing, confirmed on Sunday that Priti Patel, the house secretary, had requested the Inspectorate of Constabulary, a authorities physique that assesses police forces, for a report into what occurred at the vigil.

Mr. Khan mentioned in a press release that he had sought a full inquiry from the identical physique, and that he was additionally asking one other regulator, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, to analyze the actions of officers at the vigil.

The vigil, at Clapham Common in South London on Saturday night, led to 4 arrests that police mentioned have been for public order offenses and breach of well being rules.

Critics, who included girls’s rights activists and lawmakers throughout the spectrum, known as the policing heavy-handed and significantly upsetting at what grew to become a rally in opposition to violence for girls, particularly given {that a} Metropolitan Police officer has been charged with kidnapping and murdering Ms. Everard, who disappeared whereas strolling residence from a pal’s home in Clapham on March 3.

Mr. Khan mentioned that the police had assured him final week that the vigil can be policed sensitively, and that he had met on Sunday with the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, and her deputy, Stephen House, to demand an evidence. “I am not satisfied with the explanation they have provided,” he added.

In a statement overnight, Helen Ball, an assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, mentioned that officers on the bottom have been “faced with a difficult decision” within the night after tons of of individuals “packed tightly together, posing a very real risk of easily transmitting Covid-19.”

“Police must act for people’s safety, this is the only responsible thing to do. The pandemic is not over and gatherings of people from right across London and beyond, are still not safe,” she mentioned, including, “We accept that the actions of our officers have been questioned.”

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