According to the Crapograph it appears that the “vigil” (more like a screeching feminist moaning march) had certain groups which within the movement where they spat at, punched and abused police officers.
I haven’t seen any video of this and I’m a little surprised that the Met Police haven’t released any footage but whether or not they release it why hasn’t this been pushed out by the head of the police as well as the government?
However, to the credit of the police in the article it states from a senior police source – “We need a bit more clarity on what is okay and not okay. If you want us doing that at some protests but you don’t want us doing it at other protests, are you looking for police to decide what is an acceptable protest and what is not? That’s the mess we have been in.“
Nailed it, rest of the article below…
Rank and file officers have fought back by claiming that the vigil for Sarah Everard was infiltrated by members of protest groups as officers were spat at, punched and abused.
Ken Marsh, chair of the Metropolitan Police federation, defended the actions of officers in face of widespread criticism of police for “heavy-handed” tactics in dealing with the protest on Clapham Common on Saturday evening after the vigil.
He claimed 90 per cent of the people had walked away after the vigil before it turned into a political demonstration and rally in breach of Covid regulations after being infiltrated by protesters from Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matters and Antifa.
“Twenty six of my colleagues were abused, spat at or punched,” said Mr Marsh. “One black female officer was racially abused. An individual was arrested. This is unfortunately what happens with things like this. They get hijacked.”
He said four or five officers are needed to restrain an individual because they could otherwise fall or harm themselves if just one officer attempted it. “It looks overbearing and heavy handed, it’s not. It’s to protect you as much as us,” he said.
Four people were arrested but none were held in custody and there were no injuries, he said. “If it was just a peaceful vigil, there would have been no issues but it wasn’t unfortunately. We had to take the action we had to take.”
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has commissioned an investigation into the force’s decisions by the HM Inspectorate of Police, while the Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has defended the Met’s handling of the vigil, saying lockdown laws left the police in an “invidious” position.
Mr Marsh welcomed the investigation: “I absolutely welcome the review because we have no fears whatsoever.”
Speaking in the Commons, Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, urged people not to pass judgement without the evidence as he revealed that he had been contacted by a female officer on duty on the night.
“She was threatened. She was told she should have been murdered, not Sarah Everard and she was manhandled. We should be dialing this down not raising the temperature by calling for resignations [of Dame Cressida],” said Mr Duncan Smith.
Ms Patel replied: “I have been written to by many police officers expressing very similar sentiments from their own experiences.”
Scotland Yard sources confirmed one officer had been subjected to racial abuse but it was thought to be by someone passing by rather than a person who had been at the vigil.
A senior Met source said: “I have seen some of the body-worn footage and by that stage of the evening it was definitely a protest and not a vigil. There was lots of pushing and shoving and verbal abuse being directed at the officers.
“As the Commissioner said the police feel like they are in an invidious position with all of this. There is a real discomfort at what we feel has been the politicisation of the police. We don’t always get it right but we must be allowed to be operationally independent.
“There is no doubt that it will make things difficult during the remainder of lockdown because groups who are intent on causing trouble will see this is an opportunity to make the police look bad.”
One of Britain’s most senior officers called for greater clarity about how police forces should deal with protests during the pandemic.
National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said balancing rights to protest with legal health regulations was “complex” and “extremely challenging”.
“We want clarity so commanders on the ground can make those decisions in what are always very challenging circumstances,” he said.
A senior police source said: “There is a strong feeling in policing that the Government is throwing us under the bus. There was a strong view on Friday saying the vigil should not happen. Now they are stepping back and saying the scenes are awful.
“We need a bit more clarity on what is okay and not okay. If you want us doing that at some protests but you don’t want us doing it at other protests, are you looking for police to decide what is an acceptable protest and what is not? That’s the mess we have been in.”
However, a Government source countered that it was the ministers’ role to set the laws, but it was for the police to determine how those rules should be applied.
“It’s not the Government’s job to tell the police how to police protests. The exercise of police powers is a matter for the police force. It’s up to the police to how they enforce the law, it’s not for Government to tell them,” said the source.
Dame Cressida met members of the Reclaim these Streets campaign on Monday, who originally proposed the vigil, and refused their appeals to waive the fines of the women arrested on Saturday night.
“I asked about waiving the fines for the women that were arrested on Saturday night, and her answer was ‘absolutely not’,” said Jamie Klingler, one of the organisers.
“We feel that there’s institutional misogyny and racism within the police and criminal justice system in the UK. Cressida Dick has lost our confidence and the confidence of women in the capital. There are no solutions forthcoming.”
The Prime Minister confirmed his “full confidence” in Dame Cressida but described events at the vigil as “very distressing”.
“The police do have a very, very difficult job. But there’s no question the scenes that we saw were very distressing and so it is right that Tom Winsor, the inspector of constabulary, should do a full report into it. People have got to have confidence in the police and Tom’s going to look at that.”
Ms Patel said: “I urge everyone for as long as these regulations are in place not to participate in large gatherings or attend a protest. The right to protest is the cornerstone of our democracy. But the Government’s duty remains to prevent more lives being lost during this pandemic.”
However, Ché Donald, vice chair of the police federation, said: “Policing during lockdown is a no-win situation for front line police officers trying to protect the public, they are damned if they do take action and damned if they don’t. Ultimately front-line officers have become pawns in a political situation.”