Priti Patel to give Commons statement at 3.30pm on police response to Sarah Everard vigil

PRITI Patel will give a Commons statement at 3.30pm this afternoon on the police response to the Sarah Everard vigil at the weekend.

The Home Secretary will address MPs as top Met chief Cressida Dick comes under fire for how the police handled the gathering.

Cops were blasted for their heavy-handed approach, where several people were arrested, and tributes allegedly trampled on.

Under lockdown laws it's not permitted to hold protests or vigils while England is still under a 'stay at home order'.

But thousands of women came out to pay their respects to the 33-year-old, who went missing while walking home earlier this month.

Hundreds of bouquets of flowers and messages were left at the Clapham bandstand near where she was last seen in South London.

Even the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, stopped by briefly in the afternoon to lay flowers and pay her respects.

Organisers cancelled the official vigil in the evening, after they were threatened with huge £10,000 fines for gatherings.

Police confirmed human remains found in the investigation were hers over the weekend too.

48-year-old police officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with suspicion of kidnap and murder.

He appeared in court on Saturday.

Boris Johnson will today chair a meeting of the Crime and Justice Taskforce to look at ways to make Britain’s streets more safe. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to attend the meeting along with Dame Cressida Dick and Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill. 

The PM will use the meeting to discuss the government’s strategy on preventing violence against women, rape prosecutions and the criminal justice system. 

Ahead of the meeting, he said: “Like everyone who saw it I was deeply concerned about the footage from Clapham Common on Saturday night.

“I have spoken with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who has committed to reviewing how this was handled and the Home Secretary has also commissioned HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to conduct a lessons learned review into the policing of the event.”

Mr Johnson added: “The death of Sarah Everard must unite us in determination to drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to protect and defend them.”

The Home Secretary said: “With Sarah and her family in my thoughts and prayers, I will continue to do all I can in my role as Home Secretary to protect women and girls.

“Everyone should be free to walk our streets without fear of harassment, abuse or violence.

“The Home Office survey on tackling violence against women and girls has received an unprecedented 53,000 responses since it reopened on Friday and I’d urge everyone to give us their views.”

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