The Met Police has said it has ‘not received complaints’ over claims a woman arrested at a Sarah Everard vigil was contacted by ‘about 50’ officers on Tinder.
The London force said it has contacted Patsy Stevenson, 28, over her allegations in a TV interview today.
Ms Stevenson claimed she was ‘liked’ by 50 uniformed police officers on dating app Tinder in an ‘intimidation’ tactic following the vigil on Clapham Common, London.
Because she has the Tinder Gold upgraded version of the software she could see who had ‘liked’ her profile without her ‘liking’ them.
She was photographed masked and pinned to the ground as she was detained by police at the memorial on March 13.
The harrowing image went viral and helped fan the flames on the suggestion the Met did not care about women and their rights.
Patsy Stevenson, who went viral after she was pictured being held on the ground by officers,
Ms Stevenson, who is a Physics student at Royal Holloway, University of London, said she had been liked by 50 police officers in uniform on Tnder in the aftermath of the vigil
Thousands of women wanting to pay their respects to Miss Everard turned up at the park
A spokesman for the Met said they had not yet had a complaint about the allegations.
He added: ‘We have contacted the individual who has spoken about these concerns to offer our support and make enquiries.
‘At this time we have not received complaints in relation to this incident, but we will to continue to liaise with them about the circumstances so we can establish whether any misconduct may have occurred, and determine the appropriate next steps.
‘Officers must abide by our high standards of professional behaviour both on and off duty.
‘If someone believes that an officer’s conduct or behaviour on any social media or internet platform falls below these standards we would urge them to please contact us so that it can be properly investigated and appropriate action taken.’
Images of the physics student (pictured) being handcuffed and held down by two male officers sparked anger at Scotland Yard’s policing of the gathering on March 13
Earlier Ms Stevenson said: ‘They were all in uniform on their profiles or it said ”I’m a police officer”. I do not understand why someone would do that.
‘It is almost like an intimidation thing, saying ‘look we can see you’, and that, to me, is terrifying.
‘They know what I went through and they know that I’m fearful of police and they’ve done that for a reason,’ she added in an interview to BBC London.
She also revealed that she had become the focus of internet conspiracies since her arrest and ‘can’t count the amount of death threats I’ve had’.
‘Now there’s always that fear when I’m out and I see someone staring at me,’ she said.
‘I just want to be able to live the way you live without fear. But then again, I’m a woman.’
Images of the physics student being handcuffed and held down by two male officers sparked anger at Scotland Yard’s policing of the gathering on March 13.
Hundreds attended the vigil in south-west London to pay their respects to 33-year-old Ms Everard, who was killed after disappearing while walking home.
The event had originally been organised by Reclaim These Streets, who cancelled it after the Met said it should not go ahead, and no definitive answer on the matter was provided by the High Court.
But people turned up throughout the day, and officers did not intervene for the first six hours while many came to lay flowers, with the Duchess of Cambridge also paying her respects.
Well-wishers light candles around a tree in honour of Sarah Everard on Clapham Common, south London on March 13
By the evening, hundreds of people had gathered and refused to leave when asked by police, leading to clashes that saw protesters bundled to the ground and arrested.
The Met faced a barrage of criticism, including calls for Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign.
An official report from the watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), backed the Met’s handling of the event and found no evidence of heavy-handedness.
In June, Ms Stevenson launched legal action against the Met over her arrest if it refused to withdraw the fixed penalty notice she was issued with.
She is also asking for an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and an apology.
Ms Stevenson’s lawyers say the policing breached her rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association.
They argue that exercising these rights would have been a ‘reasonable excuse’ for her to breach coronavirus regulations restricting people from gathering.
And they note a report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights from March which stated that ‘going on a protest, if conducted in a manner that minimises the risk of spreading Covid-19, could have been and could remain a lawful reason to leave the home during lockdown’.
Speaking at the time, Ms Stevenson said: ‘I am angry that the police shut down our space to mourn and comfort each other and I feel violated that male officers used physical force to do so.
‘I will not be silenced by such actions and I am prepared to robustly challenge the police for their conduct on that day until there has been an acknowledgement and apology for their wrongdoing.’
The vigil created a crisis in policing after images from the memorial suggested officers may have been heavy-handed.
It was held during of the UK’s many coronavirus lockdowns and was illegal under the regulations at the time.
There has been condemnation of the policing of the vigil, with Home Secretary Priti Patel seeking a full report on events
But thousands of women wanting to pay their respects to Miss Everard turned up at the park.
Police were seen grabbing several women, leading them away in handcuffs and the force later said four people were arrested for public order and coronavirus regulation breaches
It sparked condemnation of the policing of the vigil, with Home Secretary Priti Patel seeking a full report on events.
She described footage from the evening as ‘upsetting’, while Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey called on Commissioner Cressida Dick to ‘consider’ her leadership of the force.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the scenes were ‘unacceptable’, tweeting: ‘The police have a responsibility to enforce Covid laws but from images I’ve seen it’s clear the response was at times neither appropriate nor proportionate.’
Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said police were put into a position ‘where enforcement action was necessary’.
She said: ‘Hundreds of people were packed tightly together, posing a very real risk of easily transmitting Covid-19.
‘Police must act for people’s safety, this is the only responsible thing to do. The pandemic is not over and gatherings of people from right across London and beyond, are still not safe.
‘Those who gathered were spoken to by officers on a number of occasions and over an extended period of time. We repeatedly encouraged those who were there to comply with the law and leave. Regrettably, a small minority of people began chanting at officers, pushing and throwing items.’
Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, who has rejected calls to resign, confirmed on Monday there would be an independent review into the force’s standards and culture and Home Secretary Priti Patel also said an inquiry into the ‘systematic failures’ that allowed Wayne Couzens to continue to be a police officer would be launched.
Source: Daily Mail UK