United Kingdom

Met chief Cressida Dick planned to send all-female team to police Sarah Everard vigil

An all-female squad to police the Sarah Everard vigil was considered by Commissioner Cressida Dick (pictured)

An all-female squad to police the Sarah Everard vigil was considered by Commissioner Cressida Dick.

Britain's top police officer yesterday said she weighed up deploying only women due to 'sensitivities' over the death of Miss Everard, allegedly kidnapped and killed by a serving Met officer.

The Met Commissioner faced calls to quit after ugly scenes of officers arresting women at the March 13 vigil for the 33-year-old marketing executive in Clapham, south London.

She told the Commons home affairs committee she decided against the female support unit the day before the event.

She said: 'It was not practical for us to do that at short notice. And secondly, hugely divisive among my people.

'I have subsequently taken a straw poll and men and women alike are really not keen on the idea that when you have a primarily female rally or protest that we will send only women. I do understand the sensitivities... that the images in that context looked very powerful.' 

The Met Commissioner faced calls to quit after ugly scenes of officers arresting women at the March 13 vigil

Dick said she weighed up deploying only women due to 'sensitivities' over the death of Miss Everard, allegedly kidnapped and killed by a serving Met officer. Pictured: A protest following Everard's death [File photo]

When asked why there were so many male officers at the vigil, she said: 'It would be wrong to say that there was an unusual number of men there, far from it… 

'Public order policing... can be quite messy, we are hands-on when we arrest people.'

The Commissioner said her officers came under sustained abuse from the crowd and described the hostility as the worst they had faced in their careers.

Dick said officers came under sustained abuse from the crowd at the vigil. Pictured: Floral tributes to Everard on Clapham Common [File photo]

Cressida Dick stands by investigation of 'credible' VIP paedophile ring claims by Carl Beech… even though he was jailed for the lies 

Cressida Dick came under fire over her role in Operation Midland yesterday as she admitted 'many mistakes' were made but stood by her decision to investigate Carl Beech's 'credible' claims.

The Scotland Yard Commissioner told MPs public confidence in her force had been damaged by the disastrous multimillion-pound inquiry into an alleged VIP paedophile ring based on the lies of fantasist Carl Beech, known as 'Nick'.

During a grilling by MPs, the officer appeared unclear about her role in the scandal, claiming first that she left the force before Beech was interviewed by detectives before clarifying she was Assistant Commissioner at the time.

Dame Cressida apologised for the botched probe.

But she defended the decision to investigate Beech's claims, even though it turned out he was a 'very, very capable liar' who had the ability to 'lie in a credible manner', she said. 

Her use of the word credible echoes former Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald in 2014 when he said he and senior officers believed Nick's allegations to be 'credible and true'.

The Daily Mail's role in exposing the shambolic investigation was praised at the Commons home affairs committee hearing. Tory MP Tim Loughton said: 'Thank goodness the Mail has uncovered and revealed the full horror of this.'

He asked if Dame Cressida had presided over a cover-up.

She replied: 'I do not believe we have lost our moral compass, I don't believe that anything has been covered up. Operation Midland undoubtedly first of all had a huge impact on many individuals, and I regret that.

'It harmed people's sense of confidence in the police service generally and in particular the Met.' 

She said it was 'hard to hear' the testimony of Lady Brittan, whose husband Lord Brittan was falsely accused of being in the ring.

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