British public supports Cressida Dick amid fallout from Sarah Everard vigil, poll finds

15 March 2021, 12:40 | Updated: 15 March 2021, 12:45

Met Police Cressida Dick has faced calls to resign
Met Police Cressida Dick has faced calls to resign. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The British public supports Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick amid the fallout from the force's handling of Saturday's vigil to remember Sarah Everard, a new poll has indicated.

The YouGov poll found 47% of Brits believed the Scotland Yard chief should not resign, with 23% saying she should go.

YouGov surveyed 5,168 adults on Sunday and Monday.

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The public is split over whether the vigil should have been allowed to go ahead as organisers had originally requested, the survey suggested, with 40% saying it should have been permitted and 43% saying it should not.

Among women, 42% said it should have gone ahead and 39% said it should not have, while 38% of men said it should have been allowed and 47% said it shouldn’t.

The poll found the public thinks vigils, protests and marches in general should not be allowed during the pandemic.

Some 59% of Brits said they shouldn’t be allowed to go ahead, with 26% saying they should be.

It comes after policing minister Kit Malthouse told LBC that he and the Home Secretary retain confidence in Dame Cressida.

“Obviously the events of the weekend were extremely alarming and distressing and I can understand why you and your listeners would be concerned about the footage that appeared,” he said.

But he added the police had been placed “in a very difficult position... standing between us and a virus and protecting our health".

He said an independent investigation into the weekend's events “will understand and illuminate what the decision making was”.

“I think it’s right for the commissioner to ask people to wait and appreciate the full circumstances the police were facing before them form a view and that's what the inquiry aims to illuminate for everybody,” he said.

In ugly scenes, officers clashed with crowds gathered to remember Ms Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive who went missing while walking home from a friend's flat on March 3, on Clapham Common on Saturday.

Calls for Dame Cressida to resign have been led by Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, while London mayor Sadiq Khan said he would be asking the Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Office for Police Conduct to look into the events.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of the Government's Crime and Justice Taskforce to discuss ways to protect women and girls from violence, with Dame Cressida in attendance.

She has said what happened to Ms Everard made her "more determined, not less" to lead the organisation, and welcomed the Home Secretary's request for an independent investigation into the events over the weekend.