Sarah Everard: Boris Johnson will discuss with police ways to protect women from violence

Boris Johnson will a hold a meeting to discuss ways to protect women and girls from violence with the head of the Metropolitan Police amid a storm of criticism over the Met police’s handling of a vigil for Sarah Everard.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to chair a meeting with police today to discuss the ways to protect women following Sarah Everard's death (Photo: Charles McQuillan, PA).

The Prime Minister is expected to chair a meeting of the Government's Crime and Justice Taskforce today with commissioner of the Met Police, Cressida Dick - who has resisted calls to quit over the events – attending.

In disturbing scenes on Saturday, officers were pictured man-handling and pinning down women from crowds gathered on Clapham Common to remember the 33-year-old marketing executive who went missing while walking home from a friend's flat on March 3.

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Dame Cressida said what happened to Ms Everard made her "more determined, not less" to lead the organisation, and welcomed the Home Secretary's request for an independent investigation into the events over the weekend.

Talking to BBC Breakfast this morning, Kit Malthouse, Policing Minister said the footage of Saturday night was “alarming” and said the event was a “difficult and challenging environment for the police” during “a huge outpouring of anger.”

He added: “We need to know more about Saturday night and this independent review will look into that.”

Priti Patel has asked the chief inspector of constabulary to conduct a "lessons learned" review into the police's actions at the vigil.

The Prime Minister said he was "deeply concerned" about the footage from the event, some of which showed police officers grabbing women and leading them away in handcuffs.

He added: "I have spoken with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who has committed to reviewing how this was handled, and the Home Secretary has also commissioned HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to conduct a lessons learned review into the policing of the event.

"(On Monday) I will chair a meeting of the Government's Crime and Justice Taskforce to look at what further action we need to take to protect women and ensure our streets are safe.

"The death of Sarah Everard must unite us in determination to drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to protect and defend them."

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds criticised the Government for responding with "yet more meetings and another consultation" at a moment when the country is "demanding action to tackle violence against women and girls".

Nimco Ali, an advisor to the Government on tackling violence against women, compared the force's behaviour with an abuser.

She told Times Radio: "It does come from a handbook of abusive men, where the fact that you're constantly blaming the victim for your act of violence.”

The Metropolitan Police said four people were arrested for public order and coronavirus regulation breaches.

There were protests on Sunday outside Scotland Yard and at Parliament Square, with demonstrators chanting "shame on you" at police.

It comes as legislation is presented before the Commons that will give police greater powers to crack down on disruptive protests.

Labour has said it will vote against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill because it contains "poorly thought-out measures to impose disproportionate controls on free expression" with some Labour MPs including Sarah Jones saying under this bill, you could find yourself ‘more in trouble’ for ‘assaulting a statue than assaulting a woman’.

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