Luisa Porritt: HMIC Report on Clapham Vigil policing eroding public trust

Responding to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) report on the policing of the Clapham Vigil, Luisa Porritt, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, said:

“Police officers kneeling on young womens’ backs. Peaceful protestors manhandled with excessive force. We all saw what happened and Londoners were appalled. The police response to the Clapham Common vigil was unacceptable.

“It was wrong of the Met to prevent this event from happening in the first place. This was not just any gathering during the pandemic. This was a peaceful vigil to mark the death of Sarah Everard. A tragic event that sparked a national conversation about the safety of women. We deserved to have our moment to come together and be heard.

“Reports like this that dismiss the idea of any wrongdoing do nothing to rebuild public trust and everything to erode it. We all appreciate that police officers are on the frontline, putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us all safe and are enormously grateful for their service. But sometimes they get things wrong and admitting that will go a long way to building bridges with women who are hurt by what they saw.

“The report relies heavily on interviews with police officers but where were the interviews with the women in attendance at the vigil? Women need to have their voices heard. The Met Police should start a formal engagement process with women attending the vigil so that understanding can be gained on all sides.

“The right to peaceful assembly and protest is a fundamental human right. The Liberal Democrats will always defend it and will continue to resist the Conservatives’ attempts to undermine it.”

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