Crowds gather outside of Scotland Yard to mourn Sarah Everard
Arrests have been made after protesters marched through central London to campaign following the death of Sarah Everard.
Police gave demonstrators an ultimatum to go home immediately or face being arrested as dozens were stopped over breaching coronavirus restrictions.
Hundreds of people gathered in Parliament Square for the demonstration at about 5pm before marching across London.
A large number of protesters blocked off traffic on Westminster Bridge to demonstrate as Reclaim These Streets campaigners chanted and held banners and police officers halted oncoming cars.
The police watchdog has confirmed it is launching two new separate investigations relating to the Sarah Everard case, following referrals from the Metropolitan Police.
One will look into allegations that a Metropolitan Police constable, who was stationed at a cordon in Kent as part of the ongoing search operation, shared an “inappropriate graphic” with colleagues.
The other will examine how Wayne Couzens, the serving Metropolitan Police officer charged with Ms Everard’s kidnap and murder, came to sustain head injuries while in custody.
Jess Phillips: Women have been forgotten by this government – and the police bill proves it
Labour MP Jess Phillips has written about the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill for Indy Voices in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death.
She shares her views on how she believes the bill has forgotten women and fails to deal with falling rape conviction rates.
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 21:24
Downing Street: ‘We will do everything we can to ensure our streets are safe’
The government has said that it is taking “immediate steps” to provide further reassurance for women and girls’ safety following the killing of Sarah Everard.
Following a meeting of the criminal justice taskforce on Monday, Downing Street said it was doubling the size of the Safer Streets fund, which provides neighbourhood measures such as better lighting and CCTV, to £45m.
It said ministers were committed to working with police and police and crime commissioners to ensure these measures targeted areas of potential concern for women and girls and were more focussed on preventing sexual violence.
Boris Johnson said in a statement: “We must do everything we can to ensure our streets are safe, and we are bringing in landmark legislation to toughen sentences and put more police on the streets.
“We are also now taking further steps to provide greater reassurance, such as providing better lighting and greater use of CCTV in parks and routes women may take on their walks home.”
He added: “Ultimately, we must drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to better protect and defend them.”
Sam Hancock15 March 2021 20:55
Arrests made in central London after protestors refuse to go home
Police have made arrests as protesters continue to march around central London to campaign after the death of Sarah Everard.
People were given an ultimatum to go home or be arrested as dozens were stopped over breaching coronavirus restrictions.
One female protester told officers she was in her local area and had been going home before she was detained, PA reports, though it is not yet clear how many people were arrested or fined.
Another demonstrator was placed in handcuffs while fellow campaigners shouted “don’t kneel on his neck”.
Police officers could be heard instructing them to leave immediately.
Sam Hancock15 March 2021 20:43
Female MPs table ‘reasoned amendment’ to police bill
A string of female MPs, including Labour’s Bell Ribeiro-Addy and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, have tabled what they call a “reasoned amendment” to throw out the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Ms Ribeiro-Addy tweeted out to her constituents in Streatham, southwest London, urging them to take action and send her a pre-prepared statement of concern so she and her colleagues can begin opposing the document.
Sam Hancock15 March 2021 20:33
‘Make harassing women a crime,’ demands Labour’s Harman
Harriet Harman has said she will table amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, to punish those who follow, film and harass women in other ways in the street.
She also wants to amend it to criminalise kerb-crawling – with the punishment including loss of driving licence – and to prevent victims of sexual offences having their previous sexual history read out in court.
The Labour MP, known as the Mother of the House as she is the longest continuously serving woman MP, said politicians must act on the demands to allow women to walk the streets safely – which have emerged following the death of Sarah Everard.
She recalled joining the Reclaim the Nights protests in the 1970s, telling the Commons: “But then women’s demands were not listened to by the men in the corridors of power. Now there are women in government, in the Home Office, in the Cabinet. There are women in all parties in Parliament. We are in these corridors of power so we must use our power to deliver for women.
“We all argued it’d make a difference if we were here as women in Parliament. Now we had better prove it.”
On her amendments, Ms Harman said: “Following a woman on the street, filming her, trying to get her number, not taking no for an answer is harassment. Why should women and girls have to put up with it? Let’s make that a criminal offence.”
Sam Hancock15 March 2021 20:20
Police watchdog probes accused’s head injuries and constable’s ‘inappropriate graphic’
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has said it will begin two separate independent investigations linked to the death of Sarah Everard.
One will examine the circumstances surrounding how Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, who has been arrested and charged with the kidnap and murder of Ms Everard, sustained a head injury on 10 March and again on 12 March while in police custody.
The other will look at the conduct of a Metropolitan Police probationary constable who had been stationed at a cordon in Kent supporting the search operation for Ms Everard.
He is alleged to have shared an “inappropriate graphic” with colleagues via social media on 11 March.
The IOPC confirmed the graphic did not contain photographic images or any other material obtained from or related to the investigation into Ms Everard’s death, or images of her.
The IOPC said it had also looked at the actions of the Metropolitan Police, which referred itself to the watchdog, after they received a report that Ms Everard was missing, the timeline of police contact and actions taken by police during the missing person investigation and have returned the matter to the force.
The watchdog said it was not within its remit to investigation the actions of Metropolitan Police officers at a vigil on Clapham Common, in south London, on Saturday and it has discussed this further with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service.
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 20:04
Police warn central London protesters officers will begin using ‘enforcement activity’
A post on the Metropolitan Police’s Events Twitter account has warned officers “will shortly begin moving towards enforcement activity” as it urged protesters in central London to “head home immediately”.
An earlier tweet said protesters were moving towards Trafalgar Square and blocking Whitehall.
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 19:42
Protesters block traffic on Westminster Bridge
A large number of protesters have blocked off traffic on Westminster Bridge to demonstrate after the death of Sarah Everard.
Hundreds of Reclaim These Streets campaigners chanted and held banners while police officers halted oncoming cars.
They then moved outside nearby Scotland Yard where they chanted “shame on you” and “our streets”.
Protesters sat down on the road and shouted “we will not be silenced” as police officers watched on.
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 19:10
People holding anti-police signs at vigil will be ‘subject to some consideration’, says Patel
Priti Patel has said people acting “inappropriately” and holding signs branded with “ACAB”, meaning “All Cops Are Bastards”, at a vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham Common on Saturday would be “subject to some consideration”.
Responding to a question from Tory backbencher Fay Jones, the home secretary said “where there is lessons to be learned [in relation to police handling of the event], they will be learned”.
But she added: “Of course, where individuals were acting inappropriately in the way in which she has said, obviously that will be subject to some consideration too.”
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 19:00
Met Police officer involved in search operation referred to IOPC for sharing ‘inappropriate graphic’
A Metropolitan Police officer, who was involved in the search operation to find Sarah Everard, has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
Follow our breaking news story for more updates:
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 18:52
Police officer removed from Kent search op after allegedly sharing ‘inappropriate graphic’
A Metropolitan Police officer involved in the Sarah Everard search operation in Kent has been removed from duties after allegedly sharing an “inappropriate graphic” with colleagues.
The probationary PC, who had been deployed as a cordon officer as part of the investigation, was reported by a number of officers after allegedly sharing the graphic with colleagues via social media, according to police.
The force said the graphic did not contain “photographic images, no images of Sarah, nor any other material obtained from or related to the investigation into Sarah’s murder”, however her family have been made aware of the incident.
The Metropolitan Police has voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over the matter “given the context of the officer’s duties at the time”.
The officer has been removed from the search operation and placed in a non-public facing role while inquiries continue.
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 18:49
Police search supermarket car park in Kent
Police officers investigating the death of Sarah Everard have been combing a supermarket car park and stream in Kent.
Officers were seen using sticks to search through a shopping trolley shelter outside a Co-op in the town of Sandwich this afternoon, while others looked under vehicles.
Chiara Giordano has more details:
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 18:15
Vigil is for ‘all those who have died at the hands of gendered and police violence’, say organisers
Sisters Uncut, the organisers of this evening’s vigil at Parliament Square, have said the event is being held to “reflect on the death of Sarah Everard, Sarah Reed and all those who have died at the hands of gendered and police violence”.
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 18:05
Government urged to ensure right of peaceful protest is protected
Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West) has urged the government to ensure the right of peaceful protest is protected under new legislation.
He told the Commons: “(Priti Patel) has rightly said that the right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but as she also said, this House on 6 January voted swingeing powers to control protests for the period of the coronavirus restrictions.
“Can I ask her to work with concerned members across the House to make sure that the legislation that we’re about to pass protects that right of peaceful protest and only stops serious disruption?”
The home secretary responded: “I will continue to always engage with colleagues, all colleagues, on this really important point and I know how hard it has been for many colleagues of this House.
“Looking at the regulations, the implications of those regulations and the restrictions that they have brought in and of course this will also be subject to debate in the House going forward.”
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 17:57
Priti Patel agrees with claim that vigil was ‘hijacked’ by extremists
Home secretary Priti Patel has controversially agreed with Conservative MPs who claimed that Saturday’s vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard was “hijacked” by anti-police extremists.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith suggested police had themselves been threatened and manhandled by the crowd, while backbencher Fay Jones claimed the vigil was “hijacked by those who would seek to defund the police and destabilise our society”.
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has more on this:
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 17:41
Crowds gather for protest outside parliament
Hundreds of people have gathered at Parliament Square in London for another protest in memory of Sarah Everard.
People at the vigil held banners and chanted as dozens of police officers watched on.
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 17:29
Mayor of London meets Reclaim These Streets organisers
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he has met with the organisers of Saturday’s Reclaim These Streets vigil to discuss “how to make London safer for women”.
Mr Khan said talks included “focusing on a city-wide strategy and the importance of misogyny being recorded as a hate crime”.
“Over the last week, we have seen an outpouring of grief and anger from women in London and across the country over Sarah Everard’s death and the daily reality of male violence against women and girls,” Mr Khan said in a statement.
“The terrible truth is that many women and girls do not feel safe and I am committed to doing everything in my power to address this.”
Mr Khan said he also listened to “and shared” the campaigners’ concerns about the policing of Saturday’s vigil, into which he has called for an independent investigation.
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 17:10
Police bill risks being ‘abusers’ charter’, Labour warns
Labour has warned the government’s controversial police bill “risks becoming an abusers’ charter”.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told the House of Commons that the legislation devotes more space to defending statues from vandalism than protecting women from street harassment and stalking.
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has more details:
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 16:55
MPs should be ‘dialling this down, not trying to raise the temperature’, says Ian Duncan Smith
Conservative MP and former leader of the party Sir Iain Duncan Smith has said all MPs should be “dialling this down, not trying to raise the temperature”.
Sir Iain told the Commons that some of the actions on Saturday night were “shameful”, adding: “But it ill behoves politicians to get up, pass judgement on what happened without all the evidence.
“I was contacted by a female police officer today to tell me of what happened to her on that night. She was threatened, she was told that she should have been murdered, not Sarah Everard, and that she was manhandled.
“I simply say on all sides we should be dialling this down, not trying to raise the temperature by calling for resignations etcetera.”
Priti Patel replied: “I think the point about not pre-judging is absolutely right.”
Chiara Giordano15 March 2021 16:44
Theresa May calls for ‘justice’ for Sarah Everard and says legislation is ‘not enough’
Former Prime Minister Theresa May has called for “justice” for Sarah Everard, as well as a recognition that legislation is not enough to end violence against women and girls.
Addressing the Commons, Ms May said Home Secretary Priti Patel was “right to remind us that behind the events of Saturday lies the tragic death of Sarah Everard, a bright young woman dearly loved by her family and friends and I join [Ms Patel] and other members of this House in saying that my thoughts and prayers are with Sarah’s family and friends at this time.
“We want justice for Sarah, we also want women to be able to feel and be safe on our streets and in their homes.”
“So does [Ms Patel] agree that we must redouble our efforts to make sure that the Government’s excellent Domestic Abuse Bill reaches the statute book as anticipated next month?” she asked.
However, she said lawmakers should “also recognise that legislation is not enough and that if we are going to eradicate violence against women and girls, we need a change of attitudes and that is about dealing with perpetrators, changing their behaviour, but also teaching young men and boys about respect for women and about what is or is not acceptable in a relationship?”
The home secretary said she wanted to “pay tribute” to Mrs May for her own “work and leadership” around addressing domestic abuse and violence against women and girls.
She said the Domestic Abuse Bill was a “landmark” bill that would aim to address domestic violence, but also said that Mrs May was right that there needed to be a wider societal shift.
“Legislation can only go so far,” Ms Patel agreed.
Chantal Da Silva15 March 2021 16:32