Category Archives: Women

Don’t bus drivers have enough to do without policing the police?

Police: who knows how many more are like Wayne Couzens? But don’t worry! Bus drivers will keep us safe from them! … Does anybody else think there might be a problem with that logic?

Let’s get this straight:

The Metropolitan Police is telling us it won’t take steps to ensure that the people we employ to prevent and detect crime won’t actually commit crimes and/or hide the evidence.

Instead it wants women who don’t trust a male officer to “wave down a bus” and get help from the driver.

What if there aren’t any buses nearby?

What if the driver is also female?

What if the driver is arrested? Pepper-sprayed? Tasered? Who would see any passengers to their destinations?

Other advice urges women to run into a house. Full of strangers? That could lead to misunderstandings, at the very least. And if pursued by the police officer, events could get very messy, very quickly.

Alternatively, it is suggested that women could phone 999. But would a misbehaving police officer really let them?

What if the police officer is carrying out his duty? Then, the bus driver or householder, or whoever, would be open to prosecution for resisting arrest, or obstructing a police officer in the course of his duty, through no fault of their own.

Meanwhile the Met has announced absolutely no plans to change its own recruitment/vetting procedures in order to avoid employing individuals who represent a danger to others.

This is while the same police service is investigating 16 other serving officers who may have committed offences.

And that’s under the leadership of a woman whose own tenure at the top has been extended for two years by the woman in charge of the Home Office.

And what about officers in other forces?

I remember an incident many years ago, when I had a migraine late at night. Unable to sleep, I went out for a walk, thinking some fresh air might help me out. Inevitably, a police car passed by and two men got out.

“Excuse me! May we ask what you’re doing out at this time of night?”

“I’m trying to walk off a migraine.”

“May we ask who you are?”

“I’m the editor of the Brecon and Radnor Express.”

“Right you are. We’ll let you get on your way.”

What if I had been a woman – and not a senior employee of the local newspaper?

Well, I wonder. And I know that’s probably doing a disservice to the officers concerned.

The Couzens case has harmed perception of more than just Metropolitan police officers.

And it isn’t about to go away. Consider these responses to the latest idiocy from Cressida Dick’s office:

There’s also this:

And look at this:

It is more than 100 years since those events and even now – with a woman at the top of the Met and a woman running the Home Office, are we really being told that nobody can be bothered to put a stop to this?

Source: Fury at under-fire Met Police over ‘derisory’ advice to women to ‘wave down a BUS’ | Daily Mail Online

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Online abuse of women in politics is getting worse, says Williams. But relief is on the way

Kirsty Williams, shortly after she had been made the Welsh cabinet secretary for Education.

A long, long time ago, when This Writer was still working at the Brecon and Radnor Express (I think), Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams was likened to toilet paper.

Her response was to say that if any comparison could be made, she would be Double Velvet. Many people thought it amusing at the time.

Now it seems that was just a mild example of the kind of abuse she received in a political career that has lasted around 20 years, and that she says has become worse because of the social media.

I’ve had my own differences with Ms Williams (I won’t deny it); politically I am traditional Labour and there is a lot of space between my views and hers. But we co-operated on the campaign for the general election voting system to be changed to proportional representation before the referendum – and wouldn’t the UK be a much better place if we had succeeded?

And she was an excellent constituency AM.

So I am saddened to learn that she – along with her husband and children – has been forced to deal with this.

I am far more willing to believe her than some of the representatives of my own party, who – in my opinion – went out of their way to stir up reactions and then squealed when people responded aggressively to their own unacceptable behaviour.

One of the examples in the BBC article is when then-Welsh Assembly Member Neil Hamilton referred to her and Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood as “political concubines”. He got away with it after claiming he had not intended to upset anybody.

But that is deliberately provocative language! How did he think people were going to react?

And when people see those who are elected to high office acting in such a way, they think it is permissible to do the same.

We have a shocking example of this squatting in 10 Downing Street pretending to be prime minister at the moment, having referred to gay people as “tank-topped bum boys”, Muslim women as “letterboxes”, black people as having “watermelon smiles”… the list of his offences is endless.

But it is possible that some relief is on the horizon, with the forthcoming Online Harms Bill that will bring in prison sentences for the behaviour Ms Williams identifies.

She says she would not discourage her three daughters from entering politics but would be worried for them, having to cope with the kind of abuse she has received.

I hope the new law – if it doesn’t have its teeth pulled by some of the offenders in Westminster – will make the environment safer, for all the rest of us and for them.

Even if I don’t approve of the political party they may choose to represent.

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#DWP bungled #Waspi women’s #pension-age rise. How long must they wait for #compensation?

WASPI protesters: this image is from 2016 and women born in the 1950s had already spent years protesting against the way the Department for Work and Pensions mistreated them.

The so-called Waspi women have finally won recognition that they were mistreated by the government, after an ombudsman found maladministration by the Department for Work and Pensions.

But they won’t get any compensation for it – at least, not yet – because the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has no power to order it.

The PHSO found that the DWP failed to act quickly enough, once it knew a significant proportion of women were not aware that the age at which they would qualify for the state pension was going up.

It should have written to the women affected by the change, at least 28 months – more than two years – earlier than it did.

The ombudsman’s report said

Between 1995 and 2004, accurate information about changes to State Pension age was publicly available in leaflets, through DWP’s pensions education campaigns, through DWP’s agencies and on its website.

[But the DWP} failed to give due weight to relevant considerations, including what research showed about the need for ‘appropriately targeted’ information, what was known about the need for individually tailored information, or how likely it was doing the same thing would achieve different results. Despite having identified more it could do, DWP failed to provide the public with as full information as possible. DWP failed to make a reasonable decision about next steps in August 2005.

It did not ‘get it right’. And its failure to use feedback to improve service delivery meant it did not ‘seek continuous improvement’. That was maladministration.

DWP then failed to act promptly on its 2006 proposal to write directly to affected women, or to give due weight to how much time had already been lost since the 1995 Pensions Act.

It did not ‘get it right’ because it did not meet the requirements of the Civil Service Code, and it did not take all relevant considerations into account. And it failed again to use feedback to improve service delivery and ‘seek continuous improvement’. That was also maladministration.

The maladministration led to a delay in DWP writing directly to women
about changes in State Pension age. If the maladministration had not happened, DWP would have begun writing to affected women by December 2006 at the latest, 28 months earlier than it did (in April 2009).

It follows that affected women should have had at least 28 months’ more individual notice of the changes. For women who were not aware of the changes, the opportunity that additional notice would have given them to adjust their retirement plans was lost.

The investigation is not over; its next stage will consider the impact that the injustice had on the women it affected.

The co-chairs of the All-party parliamentary group on State Pension Inequality for Women, Andrew Gwynne (Labour) and Peter Aldous (Conservative) have both welcomed the findings.

“The DWP must urgently address these findings, and advise 1950s women what actions they will take to right the wrongs committed by successive Governments. For too long 1950s women have been ignored, and this must change,” said Mr Gwynne.

And Mr Aldous added: “We now must see a cross-party effort to sort this problem out. This issue is bigger than any administration and has been raised repeatedly over the last 25 years. The PHSO findings must now be scrutinised by the DWP and parliament, and then we must set out about compensating women for this injustice.”

It seems the DWP itself isn’t ready to comment yet:

Waspi women have already waited many years for an admission that they were mistreated by the government, and that they have suffered loss as a result.

It seems they may not have to wait even longer before getting any compensation for the loss they have suffered and the huge amount of distress it has caused.

Source: Women’s state pension: Compensation closer for Waspi campaigners – BBC News

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Everard murderer was known to police colleagues as ‘The Rapist’. How long can Cressida Dick stay in post?

Cressida Dick: Platitudes outside a court must not save her from the consequences of her failure to root out corruption and crime among her officers.

How did a man who was nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ three years before joining the Metropolitan Police manage to pass its vetting process, let alone get into a position where he could kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard?

Those are the questions that should be forcing Met Commissioner Cressida Dick out of her job now, yet she seems secure in her post. For how long?

Wayne Couzens, who last week admitted raping and murdering Sarah Everard, was given the unsavoury nickname by colleagues at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which he joined in 2011, because he made some female colleagues feel uncomfortable, according to the Evening Standard.

The paper also reported that Kent Police took no action in 2015 after it was alleged that he had been seen driving around Dover, naked from the waist down.

And the Met – which he joined in 2018 – received further accusations of indecent exposure by Couzens on two further occasions. Neither of them were investigated properly in the days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard.

We’ve heard this story before: it isn’t such a long time since PC (yes, he’s still on the force) Oliver Banfield was convicted of assaulting a woman while she was walking home – just as Sarah Everard was when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered. His colleagues on the Warwickshire force had initially ignored the complaint and would have done nothing about it if the victim had not found CCTV footage that could be used as evidence.

The BBC has reported that the Independent Office for Police Conduct said a total of 12 gross misconduct or misconduct notices had so far been served on police officers from multiple forces in relation to the Couzens case, including about the handling of two separate claims that Couzens had indecently exposed himself; the Banfield case wasn’t a single instance of police turning a blind eye to the crimes of fellow officers – it is an epidemic.

Ms Everard’s murder sparked a wave of protest across the UK that was put down mercilessly by police forces – most notably the Met and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. An independent Parliamentary committee has found that both forces breached the fundamental rights of protesters but neither has accepted the finding and nothing will be done to improve procedures.

Indeed, women across the UK have cause to be even more concerned that the Tory government is bringing in a law to reform criminal investigations and justice – that will put women like Sarah Everard in even more danger.

Two-faced Cressida Dick, who presided over the Met Police throughout, and who supported police in their despicable mishandling of the Sarah Everard vigil, hypocritically voiced platitudes of regret over the murder and anger over the crimes of her now-former officer after attending court.

She said she felt “sickened, angered and devastated” by the crimes: “They are dreadful and everyone in policing feels betrayed.

“Sarah was a fantastic, talented young woman with her whole life ahead of her and that has been snatched away.”

But that hasn’t saved her from the court of public opinion:

This Writer is willing to suggest that public confidence in the Met – and in policing in general – has never fallen so low (although it will fall further if the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is allowed to become law in its current form).

Dick has presided over a quantum plunge in the reputation of the police, ignoring one scandal after another and allowing her force to become a cesspit of corruption and crime.

Meanwhile, the successful investigation of crimes against the public has suffered. How can it not? We can’t trust the police to do their job and we’re living in fear that they will commit crimes against us themselves.

It is a poisonous situation and Cressida Dick has done much to create it.

How long are we going to allow her to continue worsening it?

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Nadine ‘window lickers’ Dorries patient-shames women in car-crash interview

This woman is a health minister: Nadine Dorries once used a derogatory description of people with mental disabilities to describe her critics on Twitter. Now she has appeared on the radio, telling women that they can expect no help from her if they suffer sexism from doctors [Image: The Prole Star.]

Nadine Dorris is a perfect example of the Tory government having to promote people beyond their abilities.

The health minister who once used the description “window lickers” (an insult against people with mental disabilities)…

… appeared on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour where she tried to shame female NHS patients while denying responsibility for any of their problems.

You can hear the interview for yourself:

Those who have already heard the car-crash interview had nothing but derision for Dorries…

…and praise for her interviewer Emma Barnett:

The message is starkly clear: if you are a woman and you are being failed by the Tory-run health service, you will get no help from the Tories who are running it into the ground.

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Here’s what we learned last week about the way the Tories are changing the UK. What can we do about it?

Dictator Johnson: like all fascists, the only rights that interest Boris Johnson are his own – which is why he has announced he intends to abolish yours – and stop the courts from ruling that anything he does is illegal.

The last week in UK politics was seismic – in terms of the changes it announced.

Boris Johnson is using the Tories huge Parliamentary majority to change our way of life, fundamentally.

Here’s what they have started. But what can you do about it?

1. The Conservatives are ending your right to protest.

And they announced it at precisely the wrong moment. After a vigil for a woman who had been kidnapped and murdered – allegedly by a policeman – turned into a riot when policemen started attacking the female participants, Home Secretary Priti Patel introduced a new law that allows police to arrest anybody for making a demonstration that is noticed by anybody else.

There’s no point in protesting if you’re not allowed to make enough noise for other people to notice it, of course.

The move has been interpreted – correctly – as an attempt to head off protests against the Conservatives’ planned political changes that will alter the UK from democracy (albeit a not-very-progressive one) into a full-blown dictatorship.

2. The Tories are giving the police huge new powers of oppression

The example I used was the new power to arrest travellers – not for committing a crime, but on suspicion that they might do so in the future. This comes with a power to confiscate their homes.

Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is full of similar increases of oppression, against people in all parts of the UK’s society, we’re told.

3. The Conservatives are continuing to turn a blind eye to crimes against women – especially if they are committed by the police

Hate crime is the trademark of Conservative governments in the UK since 2010. They have stirred up hatred against migrant workers; they’ve stirred it up against people with long-term illnesses and disabilities. Their new Police Bill will stir up more hate against minorities, while failing to protect more than half the population from crime.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill sets the penalty for attacking a statue at 10 years imprisonment. That is twice as long a term as the starting-point sentence for rape.

We discovered this in the same week that a serving police officer walked free from a court after admitting assaulting a woman who was just walking home at night, using his police training to try to wrestle her to the ground while flinging misogynistic verbal abuse at her. His colleagues had tried to ignore her complaint when she first filed it.

Oh, and after we were told the Metropolitan Police had learned its lessons from an incident when two of its officers published WhatsApp posts of them posing with the dead bodies of two murdered women, another Met officer was alleged to have sent a “vile” post about Sarah Everard, while guarding her body.

4. The Conservative government thinks giving £2.6 million to a firm based in a country that is hostile to the UK – for communications equipment (think about it) – is money better-spent than giving nurse’s an above-inflation pay rise in reward for their work against Covid-19.

5. The Tories are hoping to strike trade deals with nations across the word that violate the human rights of their citizens.

Like is attracted to like, it seems; the Tory government is ripping up the human rights of UK citizens.

6. The Conservatives have announced that they will spend billions of pounds adding 65 warheads to the UK’s arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The UK does not have the facilities needed to fire all of these missiles and in any case it would be madness to do so, as it would certainly lead to the destruction of the entire nation in a retaliatory nuclear inferno.

7. The Conservatives have announced an attack on democracy with a plan to change the voting system at local elections to favour them.

They are using the result of a 2011 referendum – about a different subject – to justify changing the system by which Combined Authority mayors, the mayor of London and police and crime commissioners are elected from a form of proportional representation by which those elected must be supported by more than half of the electorate to the old FPTP (First Past The Post) system by which the candidate with the most votes wins, even if supported by a tiny minority of the electorate.

8. The Tories are following through on their threat to end the separation of powers that prevents the UK from falling into dictatorship, by curbing the courts’ ability to rule government actions illegal.

Boris Johnson was caught breaking the law over Brexit and the prorogation of Parliament in 2019 – when he actually misled the Queen in order to get her to end a Parliamentary session early – and he’s butt-hurt about it.

As a result, he intends to ensure that the courts will not be able to stop him from doing anything he likes in the future – no matter how many laws he breaks.

These are just the highlights – of which the worst must be Boris Johnson’s plan to put himself and his government above the law while subjecting the rest of us to increasing oppression.

The big question now is: what are you going to do about it?

We know that a quarter of the UK’s population is 100 per cent behind Johnson because they voted for him and his party – right? Granted, a small number of them might be wavering now because of the extremism of the changes listed above – and remember, they are only events that happened last week – but there remains a significant rump of Tory support.

About a third of those who are left are children who are too young to have their opinions taken seriously by the political elite.

That leaves around half the UK’s population to stand up for democracy.

But the question remains: How do you protect your freedoms when your right to do so is being taken away?

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Policeman who attacked terrified woman WHO WAS JUST WALKING HOME is spared jail

Police: even in the illustration it seems the policeman doesn’t want to be anywhere near the police woman.

It’s as though the last two weeks never happened.

The man attacking a woman while she was walking home in this video was a serving police officer – and remains a serving police officer after appearing in court and admitting the offence:

Let’s look a little more closely at that point about the victim facing an uphill battle to get justice:

So the first thing Warwickshire police did on receiving the complaint was ignore it.

Let us be clear: this was an unprovoked and violent attack by a large, drunken man, perpetrated at night against a much smaller woman.

And rather than treat it with the seriousness it deserved – especially as it related to one of their own – our law guardians did nothing.

I understand they would have brushed it under the carpet altogether if the CCTV footage had not been produced.

As it is, we can see that Oliver Banfield, 25, hurled a stream of misogynistic abuse at Emma Holmer, 11 years his senior, as he tried to employ techniques he learned from police training to drag her to the ground and put her in a headlock.

Apparently this has been described as an “unlawful arrest”. I’m sure you can think of a much better description for what is clearly a hate attack against a woman.

And how was she affected?

Miss Homer said the attack had a devastating effect on her.

She has suffered from anxiety, stress, panic attacks and insomnia and is undergoing therapy and counselling.

Miss Homer said being attacked by a police officer had shaken her belief system “to the core”.

“I often ask myself if the impact of the attack would have been so severe if my assailant was not a police officer,” she said.

“During the assault as I struggled to get to safety I was sure this drunk man was fulfilling a violent cop movie fantasy.

“To be verbally abused with misogynistic slang, grabbed by the neck and forced to the floor on a dark road by a drunk man, a foot taller than me, is terrifying.

“But to then find out he was a police officer shook my belief system to its core.

“Immediately after the assault I was in shock. I could not sleep

“I found myself compulsively running through the streets going through the events of the assault.

“What if I hadn’t got away? What if he had attacked another woman drunk?”

What, indeed?

Yet despite the aggravating features of this case – the use of police techniques, the misogynistic hate speech, and the slowness of his colleagues to prosecute Banfield – a judge at a magistrates court let this man – who should be stripped of his police career – walk free.

He was ordered to pay £500 compensation and £180 court costs, and was put under a 14 week curfew that means he may not leave his house between 7pm and 7am – after he cried off community service, his lawyer saying it would be difficult for him to work with criminals.

WITH criminals? Perhaps somebody should point out that this man IS a criminal.

And let’s remind ourselves that Sarah Everard was “just walking home” (the words have been used as a slogan ever since the incident) when she was attacked and murdered – allegedly by another serving policeman.

Two incidents cannot suggest that such behaviour is epidemic in the UK’s police. But they are enough to instil fear in every woman who has to walk home in the dark because they know they cannot automatically rely on the police to keep them safe.

When a trust is betrayed, it can be extremely difficult to win back. Sometimes it is impossible.

It seems clear that the police – and the justice system – isn’t even bothering to try.

Source: Off-duty police officer, 25, who attacked ‘terrified’ woman walking home spared jail – Mirror Online

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Don’t be fooled: the Tories are stealing your right to protest

Clapham Common: police weren’t actually stamping on Patsy Stevenson’s face, but they might as well have been.

Pretty words from Tory minister Victoria Atkins yesterday could not hide the ugly truth that the Conservative Government is stealing your right to protest in a way best described as fascist.

Atkins, on Andrew Marr’s TV show yesterday (March 14), expressed concern over the way policemen attacked women at a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard, who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by a policeman.

But she went on to defend the new Police Bill that will allow constables to carry out further attacks on any public protest, demonstration, or rally – no matter how big or small – if even one person complains about noise.

Judge the Tories on what they do, not what they say.

Commentators are starting to realise that this is an attack on our right to protest against oppression – not just by means of male violence, or policing, but by the government itself. Comparisons are being made with Orgreave in the 1980s.

The suggestion that nothing would have happened without police intervention could also be made about the battle of Orgreave during the 1984 miners’ strike, where 6,000 police, including mounted officers, brutally attacked pickets – at one point taking part in a mounted charge on people who were sunbathing.

Current police priorities were demonstrated very clearly when more than 1,000 people took part in a protest in Parliament Square yesterday, against the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil.

Uniformed officers took a much less hostile attitude and stayed away from the crowd – but were criticised for forming a protective ring around a statue of Winston Churchill.

The message was clear:

(TFW = That Feeling When…)

You can tell that the government supports heavy-handed policing. Met Commissioner Cressida Dick faced calls to resign over the attacks in Clapham Common on Saturday – but won’t.

Sadly, Labour leader Keir Starmer has stood with the government and against the people on this matter:

Dick’s own attitude to Clapham Common seems to change depending on which aspect she’s discussing.

The organisation Reclaim These Streets had tried to organise a vigil but failed because Dick’s Met Police refused to co-operate. It happened anyway because people still went on an unofficial basis to make their feelings known.

One of the attendees was Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – who was praised for her participation.

But consider Dick’s comments, not long afterwards:

It’s a glaring double-standard. Police would never have pinned the wife of the Prince to the ground, kneeling on her back. Why did they then consider it perfectly reasonable to do it to other women?

Why did Cressida Dick consider it perfectly reasonable for police to do that? And how can anyone justify her remaining in her job with that attitude?

Another protest is set to take place today (March 15) in Parliament Square, while MPs discuss the plan to clamp down on protests just like it.

If you can go, do. Boris Johnson’s government is dragging the UK into fascism and it needs to be countered.

Oh, you think it couldn’t happen here?

Well, George Orwell once described a fascist state as being like a boot stamping on a citizen’s face.

On Saturday night the police were very nearly doing just that. How much closer do they have to make it before you realise what is happening to you?

Source: Minister defends Priti Patel’s bid to hand Police more power to crack down on protests – Mirror Online

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Priti Patel wants to stop protests against male violence on women. Will YOU help stop her?


The government’s reaction to protests like that on Clapham Common last night (March 13), when male police officers arrested many women who had gathered to protest at the kidnap and murder of a woman, apparently by a male police officer, is simple: it will stop us from protesting.

Do you think that is reasonable?

Priti Patel is pushing through new legislation to ensure that police can step in to prevent any protests, rallies, or other public demonstrations tomorrow (March 15).

Her new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will expand on powers to restrict demonstrations in the Public Order Act 1986 that allowed them to be restricted if there was a risk of “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community”.

The new Bill increases the scope to allow restrictions on the basis of noise: Patel means to literally silence protest in the UK.

If it is enacted as it stands, then police will be able to stop protests that “may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation” – for instance by distracting employees in a nearby office.

This also applies if the event disturbs passers-by – if the noise of the protest could have “a relevant impact on persons in the vicinity of the procession”.

The threshold is minimal: if just one person could be caused “serious unease, alarm or distress”, the rozzers would be allowed to move in and get busy with their truncheons.

This is fascism – and it makes a mockery of the false hand-wringing the Bill’s author, Priti Patel, was exhibiting on Twitter yesterday:

We should have known this was coming, though. She made her position clear when she told LBC’s Nick Ferrari “I don’t support protest”:

The horrendous scenes on Clapham Common last night were a direct consquence of Patel’s ideology. Remember, she controls the Metropolitan Police:

It seems the new Bill will contradict the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines our right to protest in law:

This Writer therefore called for all right-thinking people to make a stand against Patel’s fascism:

I am glad to report that there will indeed be such an event:

So there it is. If you want to protest against Priti Patel’s (and by extension, Boris Johnson’s) plan to silence protest against male violence on women* then be at Parliament Square in London from 5pm tomorrow – Monday, March 15.

*Yes, she wants to stop all forms of protest but this is what she is stopping right now, and people need to be aware of what it means. If you want to complain about my choice of words, your priorities are as wrong as if you wanted to complain about my characterisation of “male” violence in a previous article.

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Police kettle women for trying to ‘reclaim’ the streets after policeman arrest for woman’s kidnap and murder

Kettled: hundreds of people – mostly women – were kettled on Clapham Common by police – mostly men.

Could there be a more strident declaration that the UK is backsliding culturally?

After a police officer was arrested and charged for kidnapping and murdering a woman, a vigil was organised on Clapham Common in memory of the deceased and as a mark of defiance against those who would put women in fear for their lives while just walking down the street.

In response, Metropolitan police officers kettled participants – boxing them in so they could not move freely – and then arrested them. Here’s how they carried out the second part of this operation:

The message is clear: in Tory Britain in the 21st century, women should feel afraid – all the time. The police will enforce it.

Possibly worst of all is the fact that the police acted this way not only after one of their number was arrested for the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, but also under the orders of a female commissioner, Cressida Dick.

Dick’s tenure has been controversial from the start – often due to racist behaviour by her officers. This incident has renewed calls for her resignation, with accusations of sexism against people of her own gender.

As I understand it, police say they acted as they did in order to enforce Covid-19-related laws on social distancing. It is unclear how they can say kettling people is consistent with that claim.

My understanding, again, is that people gathered on Clapham Common in spite of the fact that a planned vigil had been cancelled due to difficulty in securing police co-operation. Organisers of the cancelled event, Reclaim These Streets, have released this statement:

Women across the country are deeply saddened and angered by the scenes of police officers physically manhandling women at a vigil against male violence*.

From the start, Reclaim These Streets set out to work closely with the Met to ensure this vigil could go ahead safely, so women could stand together peacefully and safely to remember Sarah Everard and all the women lost to male violence.

The Metropolitan Police failed to work with us despite the High Court ruling yesterday that a vigil could potentially go ahead lawfully. In doing so, they created a risky and unsafe situation. It is their responsibility to protect public order, public health and the right to protest – they failed tonight on all accounts.

All the time they spent fighting us on a legal claim that the Judge agreed should not have been necessary and was caused by the Metropolitan Police’s stance, they could have been working with us to ensure the vigil went ahead in a safe way. The Judge was clear and the Metropolitan Police conceded minutes before the hearing that there was no blanket ban on protest under the current law. They then had an opportunity – and a responsibility – to work with us safely and within the law.

This week, of all weeks, the police should have understood that women would need a place to mourn, reflect and show solidarity. Now is the time for the police and the government to recognise that the criminal justice system is failing women. Tonight it has failed women again, in the most destructive way.

Possibly the most chilling comment on these terrible events came from Boris Johnson, who said he would do “everything I can to make sure the streets are safe”.

He’ll probably impose an armed curfew.

Whatever he does, it will probably backfire because people are angry.

One commentator – aptly – described the situation: “Peaceful protest against violence against women is broken up by state violence against women.”

If that’s how people are seeing it, then in a country that is a seething cauldron of frustration due to Covid-19 restrictions, I fear that feelings are going to boil over and we could see some real confrontations.

And people are seeing it that way:

The woman pictured being arrested, above, is Patsy Stevenson. She was interviewed afterwards and her words capture the feeling of the moment:

Note that she said the next thing that should happen is another protest – and bigger.

With the authorities reacting not only inappropriately but violently – against the victims, I can only see this situation getting worse.

I hope I’m wrong but I know how the current government mistreats ordinary people. Tories will not understand that they cannot expect us to comply with what they say when what they do is harming us.

*Some readers may object to the characterisation of “male violence”. If you are one such person, my advice is simple: get over yourself. These events happened after a woman was attacked and killed by a man. The scenes on Clapham Common involved many men attacking many more women. And the worst of it is that all the men involved have police uniforms. Women have been left in fear for their lives not only because they don’t know whether the next man they see is going to attack them but also because they now know they cannot trust the police to protect them. Many men are saying that they have nothing to do with attacks on women and wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing, and that may be true. But that doesn’t mean that no men are responsible for such attacks. Perhaps, until a way is found to ensure that women can once again walk the UK’s streets in safety, all men should take responsibility and try to help, rather than whining that it’s nothing to do with them.

Source: Sarah Everard: Met criticised over Clapham vigil policing – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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