Priti Patel defends Cressida Dick over vigil row
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The head of the Metropolitan Police has said she will not stand down despite calls for her to quit over her force’s actions at a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard. Dame Cressida Dick said what happened to the 33-year-old “appalls me” and made her “more determined, not less” to lead the organisation. Home Secretary Priti Patel has slapped down calls for her to resign.
Speaking to ITV’s Peston, Ms Patel said: “I work with the commissioner on all sorts of policing issues, and actually to run and jump to the conclusion that someone should have to resign off the back of what we saw on Saturday, without seeing the full report, is completely wrong.
“So I think again it’s wrong to end up in this sort of prejudging phase before we actually know the full facts.”
Dame Cressida previously said: “What happened to Sarah appals me. As you know, I’m the first woman commissioner of the Met, perhaps it appals me, in a way, even more because of that.
“What has happened makes me more determined, not less, to lead my organisation.
“I’ve listened to what people have been saying in the last week, I know that in the streets all across the UK women don’t feel as safe as we would all like women to feel. I am utterly determined.”
She said that “all the women and men of the Met are outraged at what has happened and they’re working as hard as they can to get justice for Sarah”.
“In that context, none of us would have wanted to see the scenes we saw at the end of yesterday’s events,” she added.
London mayor Sadiq Khan also said he would be asking HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Office for Police Conduct to look into the events.
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The mayor said the scenes at the vigil were “completely unacceptable” despite having received assurances from Scotland Yard last week that the vigil would be policed “sensitively”.
He said: “I asked the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner to come into City Hall today to give me an explanation of yesterday’s events and the days leading up to them. I am not satisfied with the explanation they have provided.
“I will now be asking Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary [HMIC] to conduct a full independent investigation of events yesterday evening and in previous days. I am also asking the Independent Office for Police Conduct [IOPC] to investigate the actions of police officers yesterday evening.
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“It is vital that these events are not allowed to undermine the powerful calls since Sarah’s murder for meaningful action to finally stop men inflicting violence on women.
“It was clear before yesterday that there isn’t adequate trust and confidence from women and girls in the police and criminal justice system more widely. Further steps must now be taken to address this.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey called on Dame Cressida to resign, while Women’s Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer said her position was “untenable”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Commissioner should not quit, but condemned the policing on Saturday as “wrong”.
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