“After reviewing a huge body of evidence — rather than a snapshot on social media — we found that there are some things the Met could have done better,” said the leader of the inspection team, Matt Parr, using a shorthand term for London’s Metropolitan Police. “But we saw nothing to suggest police officers acted in anything but a measured and proportionate way in challenging circumstances.”
The investigation, carried out by the Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, an independent government body, determined officers’ actions to be appropriate and “found that the Metropolitan Police was justified in adopting the view that the risks of transmitting Covid-19 at the vigil were too great to ignore when planning for and policing the event,” the inspectorate said in statement.
The inspectors’ findings say police officers at the vigil “did their best to peacefully disperse the crowd,” “remained calm and professional when subjected to abuse,” and “did not act in a heavy-handed manner.”
But they did note that there was a disconnect between officers and commanders about the changing nature of the event, citing “insufficient communication.”
The inspectorate said its conclusions came after reviewing hundreds of pieces of evidence, including both body camera footage from officers at the vigil and other footage of the event, and conducting interviews with the police, vigil organizers and politicians.