Sussex Police warn against vigils for murdered Sarah Everard

Sussex Police has warned against vigils today (March 13) in memory of Sarah Everard, who was murdered in London last week.

Reclaim These Streets vigils were planned at 6pm across the country, including in Worthing, Shoreham and Brighton.

The body of 33-year-old Sarah was discovered in woodland in Kent after she went missing on March 3. Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with her murder.

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Organisers of the original Reclaim These Streets event in Clapham Common have cancelled the vigil after being told by police they would be in breach of Covid guidelines.

Sarah Everard. Pic: Met Police

Sussex Police has released its own statement advising against holding similar vigils in the county.

A spokesman said: “We are making this statement following information received nationally that a number of vigils are being planned this weekend in memory of Sarah Everard.

“Such incidents are incredibly rare, yet shocking and heart breaking. We understand the strength of emotion and know that many of you will be processing what has happened, and may feel worried about your safety. The fear of violence, attack or abuse is not something that anyone should experience. Everyone should feel safe to walk our streets.

“We will do what it takes to protect our communities, to protect you and ensure you feel safe in the county you live. Our message to you is if you feel unsafe when out, you’re harassed or if a crime is committed, then please report it to us. We will investigate and do all that we can to bring people to justice.

“We also recognise the desire to come together at this time, to mourn, show respect and make a statement on the issue of women’s safety.

“We remain, however, firmly in a public health emergency and the Covid-19 regulations continue to disallow large gatherings because of the continued, and very real, risks of the spread of the virus. There are no exceptions to this and we will continue to police as we have done throughout the pandemic – engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance with the regulations; enforcing where it is proportionate and necessary to do so.

“For those considering organising or attending a public vigil this weekend, we ask and encourage you to seek alternative ways to remember Sarah in accordance with these regulations.”

Sarah’s tragic murder has sparked a public outcry as women share their experiences of daily harassment and abuse from men, the everyday measures they have to take to protect themselves and what men can do to make them feel safer.

Reclaim These Streets events were planned on Worthing and Brighton piers and in Coronation Green in Shoreham at 6pm today.

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