Vigils – really?!

Police "doing their job" in Whitehall

Anybody watching the events of last weekend could be forgiven for thinking that the police were indeed heavy handed in their approach to policing the so-called vigils. However, as is usual with the media, there was no context provided. Therefore, in one regularly reported incident, we see a red headed woman pinned to the ground, but we did not see what preceded this in order to prompt the police reacting in this way.

This of course comes as no surprise to the majority of us because a logical explanation of an event does not make a good story, let’s be honest. However, to me anyway, the greatest disappointment was the response of politicians both locally and nationally and cross party.

Not one of them came out and supported the police despite the fact that it was they who created the totally unworkable Covid related legislation and insisted that they enforce it. The police have, over the past months, been damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

There is a need to put things into perspective. As sad and terrible as the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard was, it was a very unusual event. The fact that a serving police officer has been charged with these matters makes it even more unique.

“Hell bent on causing trouble” 

People and, in this case, mainly women, have a right to express their concerns and ensure that the issues are brought to the attention of government. They also have a right to hold an event, a vigil, in order to show support and solidarity for the dead woman, her family and her friends.

However, there were a large number of individuals who joined these various events across the country hell bent on causing trouble and deliberately contravening the law. In doing so it is right and proper that the police intervene and, if they receive resistance, they are entitled, under the law, to use reasonable force in order to carry out their duties. This, as far as I can see, was exactly what they did.

There is also an awful lot of video evidence being displayed across social media which clearly shows that large numbers of those attending these gatherings had no interest in being involved in a peaceful vigil. Why else would they be carrying banners depicting the letters “ACAB”, meaning “All Coppers Are Bast…s”?.

Just doing their job

It has got to a point now where the police have become fair game for anyone to criticise and nobody appears to be prepared to stand up for them, although it was refreshing to see many, many positive comments about the police response across social media.

Let us not forget that the officers policing these events could well be the same officers called upon to investigate crimes committed against women in the future. They are just trying to do their job!

Image Credits: Seana Lanigan .


  1. It seems to me that any police asked to keep control at gatherings are fair game for attention seeking trouble makers who just want their picture in the papers. We never hear from the other side !
    Let them get on and do the job they are trained for, please!
    I for one, am very grateful for the difficult and varied tasks they perform.

  2. I think Mr Moore aptly expresses the situation, and I expect most people have a great amount of sympathy for the ordinary police officer on the beat. But, is today any different from the past in terms of what officers have to confront in the line of duty? Isn’t the old refrain, “a policeman’s lot is not a happy one”? Two generations of my family were bobbies, and I know that cliche was true! We’ve always demanded serving police officers deal with society at its best and its worst. It’s surely in the nature of the job. Which is why the majority are so supportive of the police, bcs essentially it’s a job, an institution that’s respected. Yes, all institutions are grumbled about, but as is often said, we have ‘policing by consent’ and the vast majority consent.
    When laws are controversial or unpopular, it’s police officers who have to enforce those rules, and short-sighted people sometimes forget they don’t make the rules.
    As for the media, yes, drama, jeopardy, action and antagonism will always make a ‘better’ (more exciting and engaging) story than a flat review of pedestrian events. We see that in every aspect of the media, and more and more in the news, which transformed itself some time ago into ‘info-tainment’. It means that in addition to causing some reports to focus only on the melodrama, some hugely important stories don’t get covered at all. So serving police officers aren’t the only people who may legitimately feel ill-served by that tendency. On the other hand, on any evening, you can scroll through the digital channels and find dozens of observational docs and drama featuring every aspect of policing. Some of these access-based docs are produced in partnership with the police for the very purpose of making policing more transparent and officers more than just a uniform. I think they achieve that purpose. I’m sure the public broadly appreciate that police officers are only human and engaged in one of the toughest jobs available. Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t need to be thanked from time to time. So, thank you.


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