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Priti Patel sought to ‘stop’ Sarah Everard vigil

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

The Met Police’s violent mistreatment of female protesters at the Sarah Everard vigil shocked the nation

As the anger and frustration over the murder of Sarah Everard – and the disruption of her vigil by the authorities – continues to build up, it has been claimed the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, played a more active part than previously thought in trying to disrupt the vigil.

According to an exclusive report by the Guardian (March 19), Patel had called for tough action against people (mostly women) planning to attend the vigil, only to stab the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Dame Cressida Dick, in the back after her officers were seen to be using disproportionate force to disperse female protesters at the event.

According to the Guardian, police chiefs met the policing minister, Kit Malthouse, on Friday March 12, a day before the vigil.

Following the meeting a memo was sent to all police chiefs in England from Operation Talla, the codename for the national police effort against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The memo effectively set out Patel’s position on not only the Sarah Everard vigil but all protests. The Home Secretary wanted the police to prevent people from gathering at vigils, ostensibly to enforce pandemic-related laws and regulations.

But police chiefs have told the Guardian they feel the Metropolitan Police force was “hung out to dry”, when the Home Secretary later reneged on her word and criticized pictures of Met officers “manhandling” women at the vigil, before rebuking Commissioner Dick and ordering an inquiry into the incident.

The police chiefs are effectively accusing Patel of political opportunism at the expense of the reputation and operational independence of the Met Police.

The Guardian claims that Whitehall supports Patel in her latest row with the police and the security establishment.

The paper quotes a Whitehall source as making the following statement: “The decision to start pinning women to the floor and dragging them away from Clapham Common bandstand was an independent operational decision made by them [the Met Police], for which they will have to explain to the inspectorate”.

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