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Friday, 11 March 2022

Met Police statement in full following judgement on Sarah Everard vigil in Clapham.

Two senior judges have ruled that the Metropolitan Police breached the rights of activists who planned a vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham.

The following is a statement on behalf of the Metropolitan Police following the judgment issued by the High Court.

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe said: “I remain deeply saddened by the murder of Sarah Everard and utterly disgusted that it was a serving Met officer who took her life. That sadness is shared by colleagues across the Met.

“We know the impact this terrible crime has had on our communities and recognise that the vigil on Clapham Common on 13 March 2021, organised to remember Sarah, was intended to give people the opportunity to express themselves.

"We know how strongly people felt in wanting to come together and have their voices heard.

“Throughout the pandemic, officers worked hard to respond with a proportionate policing operation to each planned gathering, applying the differing Coronavirus Health Protection Regulations in place at the time.

“A Judicial Review claim, brought against the Met by individuals representing Reclaim These Streets, was heard in January. The claim related to discussions between the claimants and officers in the days prior to the proposed vigil about the impact of the restrictions imposed by the Health Protection Regulations. We were unable to give an advance assurance to the claimants that their involvement in organising the vigil would not put them at risk of enforcement action during, or subsequent to, that event.

“On Friday, 11 March the High Court found that we did not act lawfully and that our application of the regulations was not correct.

“The Met worked very hard in challenging circumstances to interpret and apply the regulations lawfully and proportionately, despite numerous changes during the pandemic. The policing operation around the vigil was scrutinised through an independent review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

"We are considering the judgment very carefully before deciding whether to appeal the court’s decision. The Met is mindful that this judgment has potential implications in other circumstances for how a proportionality assessment is to be carried out when considering enforcement action. This may apply beyond policing the pandemic. Even in the context of the regulations that kept us safe during the pandemic, this may have important consequences.

"The Met unreservedly endorses the principle that fundamental freedoms, such as those exercised by the claimants in this case, may only be restricted where it is necessary and proportionate for a lawful purpose. Consideration of an appeal is in no way indicative that the Met do not consider such protections to be of the utmost importance. It is, however, incumbent on the Met to ensure that this judgment does not unduly inhibit its ability, and that of police forces across the country, to effectively balance competing rights in a way that is operationally deliverable.”

posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 11:22 am  

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