LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson is meeting with law enforcement officials on Monday after the London police drew widespread criticism for the handling of a vigil on Saturday after the killing of a 33-year-old woman. The fallout comes as a proposed police bill that would grant more powers to control protests in Britain is set to be debated in Parliament this week and faces renewed scrutiny from opposition lawmakers and rights groups.
An investigation is getting underway into the policing of a vigil in South London on Saturday night for Sarah Everard, 33, whose killing touched off a national discussion over misogyny and violence. The vigil had been declared unlawful because of coronavirus restrictions, a move denounced by rights groups, and officers from the Metropolitan Police, the main London force, clashed with some attendees.
Mr. Johnson was scheduled to meet on Monday with ministers, senior police officers and prosecutors to discuss steps to tighten safety on streets for women and girls.
“Like everyone who saw it, I was deeply concerned about the footage from Clapham Common on Saturday night,” Mr. Johnson said, referring to the part of South London where Ms. Everard disappeared and where the vigil was held.
said on Sunday that a review would be good for “public confidence,” but resisted calls from some for her resignation and defended her officers, citing concerns over the coronavirus.
“Unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings,” she said. “Officers have to take action if people are putting themselves massively at risk.”
David Lammy, a Labour lawmaker who is the party’s justice spokesman, adding that the bill was “a mess, which could lead to lead to harsher penalties for damaging a statue than for attacking a woman.”