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Sarah Everard murder: Couzens has brought shame on us, says Met chief


The Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, said the murder of Sarah Everard by one of its officers had brought “shame” on the force, but made no mention of reforms.

Speaking outside the Old Bailey, Dame Cressida Dick said she recognised the “brutal” murder carried out by officer Wayne Couzens had damaged trust in the police.

She said: “This man has brought shame on the Met. Speaking frankly as an organisation, we have been rocked.”

She went on: “I absolutely know that there are those that feel their trust in us is shaken. I recognise that for some people, a precious bond of trust has been damaged.”

Dick said that she would do everything in her power to ensure lessons were learned, but did not outline any actions that would be taken.

The home secretary, Priti Patel, said that there were “serious questions” that needed to be answered by the Met as she backed Dick in the wake of Everard’s murder.

The Met commissioner faced more calls to step down amid demands for urgent action to restore the confidence of women in the police after Couzens was handed a whole life sentence for the killing.

Earlier this month her contract was extended by two years, which means she will continue to lead the Met until 2024.

Speaking at the Home Office, Priti Patel said: “There are questions, serious questions that need to be answered by the Metropolitan Police … from the very day that Sarah went missing, I have been, clearly, in contact with the Metropolitan police and putting forward some questions around the conduct of the potential suspect at the time and all the requirements and checks that should have been put in place.”

When asked if Dame Cressida should resign, she said: “I will continue to work with the Metropolitan police and the commissioner to hold them to account as everybody would expect me to do, and I will continue to do that.”

Her comments came as the Independent office of police complaints said that two Metropolitan police officers and one former officer are under criminal investigation over alleged offensive messages sent after Wayne Couzens murdered Sarah Everard.

Six people, three officers from the Met, one from the civil nuclear constabulary, one from Police Norfolk and one ex-Met officer were under investigation.

The IOPC said: “They are being investigated for gross misconduct for allegedly sending messages of a discriminatory and/or inappropriate nature, and for allegedly failing to challenge the messages sent by the others.

“Two of the MPS officers and the former MPS officer have also been notified that they are being criminally investigated for improper use of the public electronic communications network under Section 127 of the Communications Act.”

The IOPC said it had no update on claims chances to identify Couzens were missed by the Met days before he kidnapped Everard andin 2015 by Kent police, both over indecent exposure incidents.



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