Women’s rights activists appalled by Met’s refusal to investigate Noel Clarke | Noel Clarke

Women’s rights activists and women who claimed they were sexually harassed and intimidated by actor Noel Clarke have reacted with dismay to the Metropolitan Police’s decision not to open a formal criminal investigation into the allegations against him .

The Met said on Friday that no further action would be taken against Clarke, who was accused of groping, harassment and intimidation by 20 women in the Guardian in April 2021. Clarke has always denied the allegations, but has later apologized if his “actions affected people in ways that I did not intend or realize”.

The Met said it would not launch a formal investigation “after a thorough assessment by specialist detectives”. A spokesperson said: “We have updated the complainants. If other claims related to those already assessed are reported, they will be carefully considered.

An actress who provided a statement to police in May 2021 alleging sexual misconduct at the hands of Clarke was appalled by the Met’s decision. “This is a very disappointing outcome for the people who bravely came forward and for anyone who had a close relationship with Noel and witnessed his constant abuse of power,” she said.

Meriel Beale, who coordinated an open letter signed by 2,000 people calling for reform of Britain’s film and TV industry after the allegations against Clarke, expressed frustration with the Met’s decision.

“We know the film and television industry has a big problem,” Beale said. “I am still regularly approached by people in distress – mainly women – who are victims of bullying, sexual harassment and abuse. We are now talking about the problem, but it is not going away. It takes a lot of bravery to speak out, and women are frustrated by the perception that they are not taken seriously or believed.

Jamie Klingler of Reclaim These Streets, who won a High Court case earlier this month over the Met’s handling of a vigil for Sarah Everard, was also crestfallen.

“It’s heartbreaking but not surprising,” Klingler said. “Time and time again, the Met fails the women of London. Again, this cements the message that there is no point in [making complaints to the police], because they do not believe us or minimize the impact and claim that the standard of prosecution is not met. When will he really have enough? When will they believe women?

After the initial charges emerged, Bafta withdrew Clarke’s award for Outstanding British Contribution to Film, and Sky canceled its crime procedural drama, Bulletproof. Clarke has subsequently kept a low profile, although it is understood he has consented to be interviewed for a documentary about the allegations being developed for Channel 4.

In a statement, the Met confirmed it received a report from a third party regarding allegations of sexual offenses on April 21, 2021, eight days before the publication of the Guardian investigation. It is understood that this report is from an industry organization, not an individual. “Following a thorough assessment by specialist detectives, it has been determined that the information will not meet the threshold of a criminal investigation,” a Met spokesman said.

However, it is understood that at least five people contacted police after the Guardian investigation, in addition to the initial third-party report made on April 21, 2021. These reports appear unlikely to lead to charges, the Met confirming that he is not currently aware of any criminal investigation into the allegations against Clarke.

Davie Fairbanks, one of the five, who worked with Clarke on the film Legacy and was a shareholder in his disbanded production company Unstoppable Entertainment Ltd, contacted the Met shortly after the Guardian investigation was published in April 2021 .

Fairbanks alleges he did not hear from the Met after providing his statement. “I can’t imagine what these women are thinking today,” Fairbanks said. “These women need to be heard, and that hasn’t happened.”

The Met did not immediately respond to a request for clarification of Fairbank’s claims.