London police criticized for breaking up the wake of murdered Sarah Everard

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday he was deeply concerned about images of police breaking a weekend watch for a murdered woman who aroused heavy public criticism of the force.

London police are facing an official investigation into their actions after they intervened on Saturday night in the wake of Sarah Everard, 33, who disappeared when she went home on March 3. A police officer has been charged with her murder.

“Like everyone who saw it, I was deeply concerned about the Clapham Common film on Saturday night,” Johnson said in a statement referring to the London Park area near where the makeshift gathering took place in violation of a police ban due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Johnson said Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick had undertaken to review police documents and Home Secretary Priti Patel had commissioned a review to learn lessons on how to improve policing for such incidents in the future.

Everard’s killing has sparked a great outburst of grief and dismay in Britain over the failure of the police and wider society to deal with violence against women.

Johnson said he would chair a meeting between senior ministers and police on Monday to see what is needed to protect women and ensure the streets are safe.

The meeting will address how the criminal justice system works to protect rape victims and sexual abuse and consider experiences that many women shared on social media and elsewhere in recent days about the fear they feel on the streets of Britain.

“Sarah Everard’s death must unite us in determination to drive out violence against women and girls and get all parts of the criminal justice system working to protect and defend them,” Johnson said.

(REUTERS)