It is clear from this report that the Metropolitan Police failed, which is very disappointing.
The HMICFRS interviewed Reclaim These Streets for over 10 hours. The Met Police’s antagonistic actions around the vigil forced us to cancel the event, which then in turn, caused a greater number of people to attend due to their publicity. We warned the Met Police on Friday night, that forcing us to cancel would cause additional risk to public safety, as did Lambeth Council. They completely dismissed our warning and concerns.
The report also shows a failure from the Home Secretary and Policing Minister on providing a political steer for the police on this event. They agreed with the NPCC to provide a statement, but failed to so – meaning senior officers, who according to the report fail to demonstrate an understanding of Human Rights law. “Where police officers are faced with making finely-balanced decisions in difficult circumstances, it is essential that the law is clear. It is incumbent on the legislature to provide a set of rules that is (first) readily capable of being accurately interpreted and applied and (second) likely to attract a high degree of public acceptance and consent.”
Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, The Metropolitan Police is standing behind claims that we were inexperienced organisers, despite some of us being elected officials and others having a decade long track record of working with police and councils on events. We anticipated a fair and balanced inquiry and are instead being told not to believe what we saw and heard reported two weeks ago. This inquiry is not representative of our experience with senior Met officials.
The HMIC had a responsibility to begin rebuilding the trust between women and girls across the capital and the Metropolitan Police. The disregard for us as women organisers in the report is clear there is still institutional sexism running through the force.