Watchdog accused of ‘rubber-stamping’ police ‘aggression and violence’ at Sarah Everard vigil

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A watchdog has backed the Metropolitan Police over its handling of the Sarah Everard vigil, saying officers were not heavy handed and remained “calm and professional”.

But campaigners and those who witnessed the police violence on the ground have slammed the report as ‘rubber-stamping’ and described the police’s behaviour as “shameful”:

The Metropolitan Police came under fire after officers waded into the peaceful vigil and attacked protesters. One person who was at the event stated:

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I was shocked at the level of aggression they used to push through and it felt like…something must have happened. And nothing had happened…they just decided to take the girls that were talking on the bandstand and to arrest them and take them away.

“There was no reason for this”

Meanwhile, the Black Protest Legal Support UK group set out why the report contradicted what they observed on the ground:


The report was written by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS). It was called in to examine the force’s actions after women who attended the event on 13 March were bundled to the ground and arrested.

But it perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise that the HMICFRS report has whitewashed what happened on Clapham Common. After all, it was a recent HMICFRS report that concluded the police had gone too far in allowing protests to happen. As Tom Coburg highlighted for The Canary:

The HMICFRS recommendations, when combined with changes proposed by the Police Bill, arguably amount to a ban on all meaningful protests. In short, if a protest – whether static or otherwise – isn’t approved by the police or other state agencies, then those taking part – ‘aggravated’ or otherwise – could face lengthy jail sentences, and likely consequential blacklisting.

This could be the future of UK policing.

Or to paraphrase the words of George Orwell: if you want a picture of future policing, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

Sarah Everard vigil

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  • Show Comments
    1. On Channel 4 news, the leader of the IOPC was keen to stress how they ‘are not the friends of the police’ and that they ‘challenge them at every opportunity’. I dredged through their past reports and didn’t find one controversial summary that investigated the police. Yes, they often critique the practices of the force – encouraging to do more at this and to do less of that, but when it comes to actual challenge…nothing. When they investigated the Northern Ireland PSNI (I am an Englishman living in NI) they were full of praise of a force doing a difficult job, in difficult circumstances and doing it very well and gaining support from the Catholic community every day. They need to come and live on the North Coast and see how the local police service functions as the state arm of a paramilitary mafia. Yes you can get by as a Catholic but only if you turn a blind eye when one of their friends stamps on your hand or robs you. The PSNI will likely arrest you for intimidation. (I am a non religious protestant)

    2. This is nothing new. It took the miners at Orgreave over 30 years to get some sort of official recognition that they’d been stitched up by the police, who were the real aggressors, possibly acting under orders from politicians. Funnily enough it was a government of very similar political persuasion. Coincidence?

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