Police told they cannot waive Covid rules for Sarah Everard vigils

Police chiefs’ organisation tells forces they must not ignore guidance banning gatherings

Police forces have been warned not to allow vigils planned by thousands of people in dozens of towns and cities to honour the memory of Sarah Everard this weekend amid frustration about “endemic” levels of violence against women and girls.

The Guardian has learned that the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) told forces across England and Wales on Friday that they could not waive lockdown guidance banning gatherings, after it was discussed with the policing minister, Kit Malthouse. The document says that he is “supportive”.

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