Boris Johnson has declared that he has “full confidence” in Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick despite calls for her resignation over Saturday’s (13 March) vigil for Sarah Everard.
The Metropolitan Police Service has faced intense criticism since the initially peaceful vigil in memory of Everard, after video footage and photographs showed women being pushed and pinned to the ground by officers.
Over the weekend, the hashtags #SackCressida and #SackDick were both trending on Twitter as called for Dick, the first out Met police chief, to be removed from her post.
In an open letter addressed to the commissioner, Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said: “This was a complete, abject, tactical and moral failure on the part of the police. We therefore call on you to consider your leadership of the service.”
But Dick has said she will not consider resigning, insisting in a statement on Sunday (14 March): “What has happened makes me more determined, not less, to lead my organisation.”
She added: “[Police officers] have to make these really difficult calls and I don’t think anybody should be sitting back in an armchair and saying, ‘Well, that was done badly’ or ‘I would’ve done it differently’ without actually understanding what was going through their minds.”
Despite condemnation from politicians across the political spectrum, the prime minister has declared that he has “full confidence” in the police chief.
“The police do have a very, very difficult job. But there’s no question that the scenes that we saw were very distressing and so it is right that Tom Winsor, the inspector of constabulary, should do a full report into it,” Johnson said to reporters on a visit to Coventry, echoing calls from Home Secretary Priti Patel for a report on the “disturbing” events at the vigil.
“I think people have got to have confidence in the police and Tom’s going to look at that.”
On Monday evening (15 March) Johnson will chair a meeting of the government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce to discuss women’s safety in London.