Boris Johnson has said he has full confidence in Metropolitan Police chief Dame Cressida Dick despite the “very distressing” scenes at a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard.
Scotland Yard has continued to face questions over its handling of the event, as the Prime Minister said the police had a “very difficult job” to do.
People need confidence in police
Mr Johnson said he still had confidence in Dame Cressida, but said it is right a full report is conducted following the events at the weekend.
He said: “The police do have a very, very difficult job. But there’s no question that 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.
“I think people have got to have confidence in the police and Tom’s going to look at that.”
In distressing scenes on Saturday (15 Mar) evening, police officers were seen clashing with crowds gathering on Clapham Common in south London to pay their respects to the 33-year-old who went missing on 3 March.
Sarah Everard was found on Friday (12 March), with serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, being charged with kidnapping and killing the marketing executive.
The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce on Monday to discuss ways to protect women and girls from violence, with Dame Cressida among the attendees.
Asked if the police had been “just enforcing Covid rules” set by the government, Mr Johnson said: “The reality is that the country is united still in shock and grief about what happened to Sarah Everard and we must do everything we can to find the answers.
“Today in the House of Commons, there’s a debate beginning and a vote tomorrow on new measures that the government is bringing in for tougher sentences for rapists… and new measures to tackle domestic violence.
Home Secretary is giving a statement to the House of Commons today (15 March) on violence against women.
Later MPs will debate the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which critics have said could lead to a crackdown on people’s right to protest.
Sir Keir Starmer said the new legislation did not include anything “meaningful” on protecting women and girls.
Calls for Dame Cressida resignation
There have been several calls for Dame Cressida to resign over the events on Saturday (13 March). Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats led the calls, along with Women’s Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer who said her position was “untenable”.
A YouGov poll of 5,168 adults indicated 47 per cent backed Dame Cressida to remain in post, with 23 per cent calling for her to go.
Labour’s shadow policing minister Sarah Jones did not back the calls, urging for the focus “to be on Sarah Everard and the increasing problems of violence against women”.
Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme she said: “There’s going to be an investigation, we know that, and we need some answers, because we were given assurances and I think we all felt that the response on Saturday was the wrong one.”