30 March 2021
The National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, has responded to the findings of the HMICFRS review into the policing of the vigil for Sarah Everard that took place on Clapham Common on Saturday 13 March 2021.
The Clapham Common vigil was an incredibly sensitive event and a natural reaction to the tragic death of Sarah Everard. People wished to pay their respects, but this took place during a pandemic while the country was in lockdown.
The actions of my colleagues at this vigil were harshly criticised by ill-informed people. These included some politicians and media, and others in positions of authority and influence.
The HMICFRS review into the actions of the Metropolitan Police show these same people were too quick to make inflammatory, derogatory, and insensitive comments about police officers, with limited knowledge and context.
They inflamed the situation and created further tension. They also undermined the incredibly difficult and complex job police officers do, especially in these types of situations. In addition, they further undermined the confidence the public have in policing.
Police Officers were unfairly vilified and the comments about their actions were wholly disproportionate and damaging. Those responsible should reflect on their behaviour and publicly apologise to my colleagues.
It’s important that we don’t forget why people felt so strongly about attending the vigil in the first place. My thoughts and those of my colleagues are with Sarah Everard’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.