London police accused of ‘stitch-up’ over refusal to probe Downing St events

Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick was accused of presiding over an “institution stitch-up” on Friday because the London drive stood by its refusal to research Downing Avenue over lockdown events.

Liberal Democrat chief Sir Ed Davey urged Dick to not let UK prime minister Boris Johnson “off the hook” as Quantity 10 was compelled to issue an apology to Queen Elizabeth for 2 employees events in April final yr that have been held the evening earlier than the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip. The monarch sat alone through the service in compliance with Covid-19 laws on the time.

Davey stated it was “clear to everybody” that Johnson had damaged the legislation over lockdown guidelines: earlier this week the prime minister offered a partial apology to parliament after admitting he attended a “carry your individual booze” celebration at Quantity 10 throughout lockdown in Could 2020.

“Cressida Dick mustn’t let him off the hook by means of a shady institution stitch-up,” he stated. “The Met commissioner may suppose it’s one rule for Boris Johnson and one other rule for everybody else, however that doesn’t make it proper.”

The Met responded to questions by reiterating its earlier place that it was in contact with the Cupboard Workplace, which is conducting an investigation into the events led by senior civil servant Sue Grey. The drive has stated if that probe produced any additional proof, it would examine it.

Jamie Klingler, from Reclaim These Streets, close to the bandstand in London the place the vigil for Sarah Everard was damaged up by police final yr © Aaron Chown/PA

Requested about studies that employees introduced a suitcase stuffed with wine into Downing Avenue for one of many events final April and whether or not officers have been conscious, the drive stated it didn’t focus on protecting safety preparations at authorities buildings.

Dal Babu, a former senior Met officer who carried out safety duties at Downing Avenue earlier in his profession, stated the drive had bought itself right into a “actual muddle” over the obvious breaches.

“I believe the police decided to not examine proper at first,” Babu stated, referring to when the primary studies of Downing Avenue events in breach of lockdown laws appeared in November. “I ought to think about they’d have consulted with senior politicians round that, and I believe it was a mistake as a result of that has now grow to be the story.”

A protester is arrested by Met officers at last year’s vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard
A protester is arrested by Met officers ultimately yr’s vigil for homicide sufferer Sarah Everard © IKristian Buus/In Footage/Getty Photos

The place has angered Jamie Klingler, organiser of a Reclaim These Streets vigil final yr on London’s Clapham Frequent. The occasion was damaged up by the Met, which made 4 arrests, as a result of the drive stated it breached coronavirus restrictions.

The vigil happened on March 13 final yr, a month earlier than the April 16 Downing Avenue events, and was held to commemorate Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Wayne Couzens, a serving Met officer on the time.

“Fury and rage doesn’t start to convey my emotions on the hypocrisy of the Met, who don’t serve the ladies of London,” Klingler stated.

The Met has declined to research studies of at the least six separate events at Downing Avenue — one in Could 2020, two in November 2020, one in December 2020 and the 2 final April — on the grounds it could not usually examine breaches of the coronavirus guidelines retrospectively.

The drive is already under intense scrutiny over its tradition and attitudes following Everard’s homicide and a string of botched investigations.

Kieron McArdle
Kieron McArdle, who was fined for a lockdown breach final yr, stated he was ‘indignant and pissed off’ in regards to the Met’s stance © Sky Information

Kieron McArdle, who was fined in March final yr after two buddies shocked him on his birthday to come back and drink with him in his backyard, stated he too was “indignant and pissed off” in regards to the Met’s stance.

McArdle and his buddies every confronted a £200 advantageous, diminished to £100 every for fast fee, over the incident, in Coleshill, Warwickshire.

McArdle stated he and his buddies had accepted what they did was incorrect, paid the fines and thought nothing extra of the matter till revelations in regards to the Downing Avenue events began to emerge.

“The Met Police are principally holding doorways open for them and carrying drinks trays for them,” McArdle stated. “They’re as fully in it because the politicians.”

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