Kate Middleton visit to Sarah Everard Clapham vigil was ‘legal’, says Cressida Dick

The Met Commissioner says the Duchess of Cambridge was ‘working’

Isabelle Aron
Wednesday 31 March 2021 14:02 BST
Duchess of Cambridge visit to Sarah Everard vigil was legal, says Cressida Dick

The Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to the Sarah Everard vigil was legal, according to Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.

Kate Middleton went to Clapham Common to lay flowers in memory of Sarah Everard, as part of a vigil on 13 March at the bandstand.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, the Met Commissioner said that there were “a whole series of potential reasonable excuses” for the duchess’s visit to the vigil.

When questioned about the legality of her attendance by host Justin Webb, Dick responded: “She’s in the course of her duties, she was working.

“At that point people had a whole series of potential reasonable excuses for being away from home, we didn’t all have them.

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“I’ve picked out one that may apply to her but, let’s be clear, there was a very calm vigil to which she attended where lots and lots of people came.”

The Met did not grant legal permission for the vigil. At the time, Dick said that she herself would have attended the vigil “if it had been lawful”.

When Webb pressed the Met commissioner on this issue, she said: “It was clearly possible under the law for somebody who lived locally to walk as many did and lay flowers legally, there are other reasons why people might be in the area and they could have laid flowers calmly and peacefully, potentially legally.

“You would have seen for six hours we did not enforce any laws, we showed some discretion and we allowed people to carry on.”

According to PA, the duchess’s visit was not listed in the Court Circular - the daily list of royal engagements - so it was not an official engagement.

The Duchess of Cambridge attended the vigil earlier in the day before police intervened. Later some women in attendance were pinned to the ground and arrested.

Asked if the Metropolitan Police knew about Kate’s visit, Dick said: “The Met did know, absolutely, but of course we take all sorts of precautions to make sure that we don’t unwittingly draw attention to visits like that.”

A watchdog review into the Metropolitan Police’s actions on the day of the vigil found this week that officers “did not act inappropriately or in a heavy-handed manner”.

The review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), said the force was “justified” in its view that the risks of coronavirus transmission were “too great to ignore”.

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