Met Police response to HMICFRS inspection of policing the Sarah Everard vigil.

We are determined to tackle violence against women and girls and hope this report goes some way to build confidence that our officers are working tirelessly to keep Londoners safe.

The circumstances of the disappearance and death of Sarah Everard have left us all deeply angry and shocked. Our thoughts remain with her family and friends at this very sad time.

Police must act to protect the public and we welcome the conclusions of today’s report that acknowledges the complexity of policing an event such as this in unprecedented times.

The vast majority of those who attended the vigil throughout the afternoon did so in a dignified, respectful and lawful manner.

However, the atmosphere changed after 18:00hrs and officers faced considerable abuse and hostility from a small minority of the crowd.

The Inspectorate concludes that officers did their best to peacefully disperse the gathering and demonstrated patience and restraint. It finds their actions were not inappropriate or heavy-handed.

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe said: “We are outraged at Sarah’s death which has left us even more determined to tackle violence against women and girls.

“This report makes clear the difficult circumstances officers faced as a peaceful vigil became a hostile rally. We must always be consistent in our policing of public events.

“I am extremely proud of the restraint, compassion and professionalism officers showed during a fast-moving and challenging situation.

“They spent considerable time engaging, explaining and encouraging before considering any enforcement action.

“Officers acted thoughtfully, sensibly and proportionately throughout the operation with the best interests of Londoners at heart given we remain in a public health crisis.

“We welcome the considered scrutiny of this event which highlights how a snapshot may not represent the full context of the challenges police face.”

The Metropolitan Police Service will continue to review the report and welcome any recommendations that give us the opportunity to improve our work in the future.

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