British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday said he was deeply concerned about footage of police officers breaking up a vigil for a murdered woman.
“Like everyone who saw it I was deeply concerned about the footage from Clapham Common on Saturday night,” Johnson said in a statement, Reuters reports.
A vigil for Sarah Everard, the 33-year-old British woman who went missing in early March, was held in Clapham Common on Saturday. Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with the kidnapping and murder of Everard.
The vigil held at the south London park went against COVID-19 guidelines on gatherings which led to the police confrontation. London Metropolitan Police acting commissioner Helen Ball said on Sunday that four people had been arrested, arguing that the officers were obligated to make the arrests due to the size of the gathering.
"We absolutely did not want to be in a position where enforcement action was necessary. But we were placed in this position because of the overriding need to protect people’s safety," Ball said in a statement on Sunday.
Johnson said that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick was committed to reviewing the police officers’ actions. Reuters notes that London police are facing an official inquiry following the events this past weekend.
“We’re still in a pandemic, unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings, officers have to take action if people are putting themselves massively at risk,” Dick said to reporters. The commissioner also maintained that she would not be resigning in light of the backlash.