Norfolk PCC candidates give their views on Sarah Everard vigil
- Credit: Victoria Jones/PA
The candidates to be the next Norfolk police and crime commissioner have criticised the Met force's handling of the London vigil for Sarah Everard.
All the candidates said they believed the vigil should have been allowed to go ahead.
David Moreland, an independent candidate, blamed escalating tensions on “left-wing idiots” who went to cause trouble.
“I’m obviously not happy about what happened to the ladies that were arrested or how that was dealt with,” he said. “I feel sorry for both sides [the police and vigil attendees], but not the guys that were there trying to cause trouble.”
Mr Moreland said Boris Johnson should have made an exception to allow people to pay their respects.
John Crofts, the Liberal Democrat candidate, thought the police were in a difficult position due to the regulations.
“By not allowing the vigil you are going to get problems, especially when other areas like Nottingham were able to hold vigils and make them safe events,” he said.
Mr Crofts said the situation should have been handled with more sensitivity and been a positive event for women to tell their stories.
He believed there needed to be a long-term strategy, to help women to avoid domestic violence but also explaining to young boys how to be careful with their behaviour.
“I couldn’t believe it at first, and I still can’t accept it now,” said Labour's Michael Rosen.
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“One of the biggest challenges is that we need to ensure that we police by consent. Keeping that trust, especially among women, is going to be one of the biggest challenges.”
Mr Rosen said: “We have enough experience with policing in this country to know how to manage these events, for whatever the reason this event has not [been managed well] and ended up with wrong results.”
He called for misogyny to be made a hate crime.
Martin Schmierer, the Green Party candidate, was horrified by the images of officers restraining women, describing the events as “incomprehensible” given a serving officer was accused of Ms Everard’s murder.
“I expect much higher standards of policing and would have expected the officer who oversaw a shambles like we saw at the weekend to have put their resignation on the table by 5pm,” he said.
“Men, as well as women, need to speak up if we see any behaviour that we can’t condone."
Mr Schmierer echoed the call for misogyny to be made a hate crime.
The Conservative candidate Giles Orpen-Smellie was contacted for comment.