Concerned about reports of potential mass gatherings in the county – including one in St Leonards Gardens tonight at 6pm – as vigils are planned this weekend in memory of Sarah Everard, Sussex Police issued a following statement last night.
The statement said: “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.”