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The Duchess of Cambridge did not break the law by attending the vigil for Sarah Everard because ‘she was working’, Dame Cressida Dick said today, as she slammed politicians including Sadiq Khan who criticised her officers for arresting protesters ‘without knowing the facts’.

The Met Commissioner also revealed that she knew in advance that Kate was heading to Clapham Common to lay flowers — but admitted the officer in charge of policing the event did not. 

The Commissioner backed the royal’s trip to south-west London on March 13, despite saying she would have personally attended herself ‘if the gathering had been legal’.

She clarified that on the day Kate visited, most mourners paid their respects, stood more than two metres apart and then left. She said the Metropolitan Police treated the vigil as an ‘unlawful’ gathering later that evening, when numbers increased, social distancing ended and protesters refused to disperse.

Dame Cressida also defended her officers after they arrested protesters during clashes later that night, saying they had faced ‘extreme provocation’ after the policing watchdog cleared her officers of wrongdoing yesterday.

The Commissioner described the policing of the event as ‘extremely professional and calm’, adding: ‘People should learn that police have a very difficult job’. 

And she hit out at politicians who criticised the Met’s tactics that night ‘without knowing the facts’, hours after the watchdog’s report rebuked the Mayor link of London Sadiq Khan over his criticism of the arrests. MPs who called for Dame Cressida’s head included Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats.

She said: ‘People in responsible positions should stop and think before they judge’, adding that City Hall were warned the day before there would be arrests if protesters refused to disperse, adding: ‘People should stop and think, because if they comment without knowing the facts, they may — and I would suggest on this occasion some people did — affect public confidence in their police service inappropriately’. 

The Duchess of Cambridge visited Clapham Common to pay her respects to Sarah Everard in mid-March, but did not break the law because she 'was working', Dame Cressida Dick has said

The Duchess of Cambridge visited Clapham Common to pay her respects to Sarah Everard in mid-March, but did not break the law because she 'was working', Dame Cressida Dick has said

The Duchess of Cambridge visited Clapham Common to pay her respects to Sarah Everard in mid-March, but did not break the law because she ‘was working’, Dame Cressida Dick has said 

Dame Cressida also defended her officers after they arrested protesters during clashes later that night, saying they had faced 'extreme provocation' from some who attended the Clapham event in memory of marketing executive Miss Everard

Dame Cressida also defended her officers after they arrested protesters during clashes later that night, saying they had faced 'extreme provocation' from some who attended the Clapham event in memory of marketing executive Miss Everard

Dame Cressida also defended her officers after they arrested protesters during clashes later that night, saying they had faced 'extreme provocation' from some who attended the Clapham event in memory of marketing executive Miss Everard

Dame Cressida also defended her officers after they arrested protesters during clashes later that night, saying they had faced 'extreme provocation' from some who attended the Clapham event in memory of marketing executive Miss Everard

Dame Cressida also defended her officers after they arrested protesters during clashes later that night, saying they had faced ‘extreme provocation’ from some who attended the Clapham event in memory of marketing executive Miss Everard

Patsy Stevenson was arrested by police at the vigil in memory of murdered Sarah Everard, Officers were cleared of any wrongdoing

Patsy Stevenson was arrested by police at the vigil in memory of murdered Sarah Everard, Officers were cleared of any wrongdoing

Patsy Stevenson was arrested by police at the vigil in memory of murdered Sarah Everard, Officers were cleared of any wrongdoing

<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS news" data-version="2" id="mol-83b6d880-91f7-11eb-b390-c5a10e94712c" website Dick insists Kate&apos;s visit to Sarah Everard vigil not illegal