Brighton MP criticises ‘unacceptable’ policing of vigils in memory of Sarah Everard

Posted On 15 Mar 2021 at 7:02 pm

Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle has criticised the “unacceptable” policing of vigils held in memory of Sarah Everard who was murdered last week.

Sarah Everard

The Labour MP said on Twitter that not just the Met, but Sussex Police – and Brighton and Hove police – “must have a serious look at themselves”.

His comments came after police in Brighton arrested one person and fined eight others at a vigil in Valley Gardens on Saturday night (13 March).

The next day dozens protested about the handling of the event by the force outside John Street Police Station in Brighton.

But the footage from Clapham Common in London provoked the most outrage, with MPs today (Monday 15 March) saying that the vigil had required sensitivity and a compassionate approach.

It came after a Metropolitan Police officer was charged with abducting and murdering Sarah Everard.

Mr Russell-Moyle said: “This behaviour is just unacceptable. Policeman is accused of murdering a woman. Women ask to organise legal, social distanced vigils. Instead of helping, police decide to beat up the women.”

He also said: “There must be an investigation into Met and some other police forces thuggish actions.

“Sending men in high viz uniforms to beat up women at a vigil that could have been lawful if the Met had followed the advice of the High Court and worked with the women was wrong.

“Sadiq Khan (the mayor of London) was right to not be satisfied by Cressida Dick’s explanation.

“Cressida Dick needs to consider her position because she doesn’t have the trust of the mayor or lawmakers like myself.

“We must, however, make sure all those responsible at every level are held to account.”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle

The Labour MP’s criticisms follow those of Brighton peer Jenny Jones, also known as Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb.

The first Green member of the House of Lords called for the Metroplitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick to be replaced after the scenes in London.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he was “deeply concerned” by the scenes in London and Home Secretary Priti Patel ordered an official review by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said that she had spoken to Sussex chief constable Jo Shiner after the events in Brighton.

Peaceful vigils, without arrests, were held in other parts of the country, and police chiefs were summoned to a meeting today in light of the coverage of events in London in particular.

One senior police figure said that public gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic had meant that those on the ground were face with incredibly hard decisions.

He said that when it came to dispersing crowds, they were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t.

Katy Bourne

Mrs Bourne said yesterday (Sunday 14 March): “The entire country has been heartbroken by the tragedy of Sarah Everard’s death.

“We all know the harrowing statistics around violence against women and girls and the shocking revelations over the last few days have sparked conversations focused on female safety.

“However, our concern and outrage will not protect us from covid which remains a very real threat to everybody’s safety.

“I have already spoken to the chief constable to better understand the policing of last night’s gathering and am reassured to learn that the majority of people present adhered to the rules that have helped drive covid levels down.

“It is also worth recognising that, throughout this pandemic, local residents have told me that they feel reassured with the … approach that Sussex Police have continually applied.

“Let us now allow the family of Sarah to mourn their loss, let us express our own sorrow and anger proportionately and let justice take its course.”

  1. Dirk Mitchell Reply

    The covid virus does not care why people gather together, regardless of the cause. Football crowds are still not safe for the very same isn’t safe to meet together in large numbers. Sorry but I support the police action on this one. The cause is a great one but to call large numbers together shows just how little many of these people regard the pandemic. How ironic if they catch the virus and it later transmits to someone who becomes seriously ill or dies? Does their ignorance defend their actions? A socially distant form of support should have been organised rather than a gathering of large numbers of people.

  2. m warden Reply

    totally agree with the comments above the police have a difficult job to do in brighton as it is dont forget also the police have not had there covid jabs yet.

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