Inspection of the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil

Part of: Police engagement with women and girls Specific reviews

In March 2021, the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London commissioned HMICFRS to inspect how the Metropolitan Police Service handled the policing of the vigil in memory of Sarah Everard held on Clapham Common on Saturday 13 March 2021.

Terms of reference

Request from Home Secretary – 14 March 2021

Following the tragic killing of Sarah Everard and the unofficial vigil held in her memory on Clapham Common on Saturday 13 March, under powers in Police Act 1996, section 54(2B) I wish to commission HMICFRS to undertake a bespoke thematic inspection into the Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of this event – its operational decision-making, application of the law in the context of the COVID regulations and its engagement with those at Saturday’s event and the wider public.

I would be most grateful if this could be prioritised within your current programme and for you to report your findings within two weeks.

Read the letter from the Home Secretary

Request from Mayor of London – 15 March 2021

I write in relation to the activities of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in the policing of a vigil for Sarah Everard on 13 March 2021 at Clapham Common, and events leading up to it.

I understand that the Home Secretary has also written to request a review of the operational decisions made that night, the application of the law in the context of the Covid regulations and the Met’s engagement with those at the event and the wider public.

I request that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services review the activities of the MPS in relation to the above event, with the following specific areas of focus:

  1. how effectively did the MPS plan and prepare for the ‘Reclaim these Streets’ vigil, including discussions between the organisers and the Central South BCU in the days leading up to it and the [perceived] subsequent change in approach from the MPS;
  2. how the MPS adjusted those plans following the decision to cancel the original vigil;
  3. how did the MPS engage, collaborate and communicate with local partners and local communities in preparation for and during the vigil;
  4. the leadership and operational decision-making during the vigil itself, in the context of the COVID-19 regulations, and whether the MPS achieved the right balance between enforcing the law and the rights of those attending the vigil; and
  5. what lessons can be learned from the policing of this vigil for the policing of future events.

Read the letter from the Mayor of London


This report has been compiled in response to both commissions.

An inspection of the Metropolitan Police Service’s policing of a vigil held in commemoration of Sarah Everard – March 2021