As it happenedended1633111876

Sarah Everard – latest: PM says police have ‘problem’ handling violence against women amid outrage at advice

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Chiara Giordano,Lamiat Sabin
Friday 01 October 2021 19:11
Met chief is ‘willing to change’, says policing minister

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “there is a problem” with the way cases of violence against women and girls are handled.

His interview with broadcasters came amid debates over how Wayne Couzens – who used his police powers to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard – was allowed to become and remain a Metropolitan Police officer.

Mr Johnson said: “I do think that we can trust the police. And I think the police do a wonderful, wonderful job.

“But there is a problem. And there is a problem in the way we handle rape, domestic violence, sexual violence and the way we handle the complaints of women and girls. It’s overwhelmingly women and girls.”

He added: “The problem is we have too few prosecutions for rape and too few successful prosecutions, too few convictions.

“Yesterday I got together the crime and justice taskforce, again, and what we’re trying to do is compress that timetable between a woman’s complaint about what has happened and any action, whether it’s the court proceeding, or the conviction, or whatever.

“Because the time from report to referral, from referral to the court proceedings, from court proceedings to the conclusion, all three of those segments is far too long.

“And what you’re seeing is the whole system snarled up with evidential problems, with data issues, with mobile phones disclosure, all that kind of stuff, and it’s a nightmare for the women concerned. So we’ve got to fix it.”

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage as Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick faces calls to resign following the sentencing of firearms officer Wayne Couzens over the rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, whom he kidnapped as she walked home in south London earlier this year.

Chiara Giordano1 October 2021 09:24
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Calls for Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick to resign

Cressida Dick must resign to restore women’s confidence in the Metropolitan Police, senior politicians said on Thursday after details emerged of the failures that led to an officer falsely arresting a woman to kidnap and murder her.

The chair of parliament’s women and equalities committee, Tory MP Caroline Nokes, joined former Labour justice secretary Harriet Harman and a chorus of others in calling for the commissioner to step down over Sarah Everard’s killing.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has the full story:

Resign to restore women’s confidence in police, Cressida Dick told

‘Women’s confidence in the police has been shattered’ says former justice secretary

Chiara Giordano1 October 2021 09:33
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Police admit missed chances over killer

A previous allegation of indecent exposure against Wayne Couzens may have been missed during his vetting process, the Metropolitan Police has admitted as investigations continue into whether Sarah Everard’s killer was responsible for other unsolved crimes.

A vehicle registered to Couzens was linked to a report made to Kent Police in 2015 but the killer was never named as a suspect and the investigation concluded with no further action taken.

Nick Ephgrave, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said had the force known about the outcome of the Kent investigation, Couzens would still have passed their vetting process.

Read more on this story:

The missed chances to stop Couzens — as link to other crimes is probed

Indecent exposure incident was never linked to killer police officer dubbed ‘the rapist’ by colleagues

Chiara Giordano1 October 2021 09:35
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Policing minister says it’s ‘reasonable’ to call 999 to identify lone officers

The policing minister has said it would be “perfectly reasonable” for anyone approached by a lone police officer who has concerns to call 999 and seek reassurance following the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.

Kit Malthouse told Sky News: “If anybody has any doubts about that police officer, they should question the officer on what they’re doing and if there are any doubts they should ask to speak to the control room on that officer’s radio or call 999.”

He added: “I think it would be perfectly reasonable in similar circumstances for somebody to question the officer, seek reassurance, if that means asking them to identify themselves by speaking to the control room or calling in 999 if they feel in danger, then I’m afraid that’s where we’ve got to.”

Chiara Giordano1 October 2021 09:43
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Met Police issues advice to women if they don’t trust lone police officer

The Metropolitan Police has issued advice for anyone who fears a lone police officer might not be genuine, suggesting they call 999 or “shout out to a passer-by, run into a house or wave a bus down” for help in the wake of Sarah Everard’s kidnap and murder.

The force said it is “unusual” for a single plain clothes police officer to engage with a member of the public.

My colleague Joe Middleton has the full details:

Met tells women to ‘wave a bus down’ if they don’t trust male officer

The Met said 650 new officers will also be deployed into busy public places

Chiara Giordano1 October 2021 10:01
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Wayne Couzens kidnapped Sarah Everard using handcuffs and ‘fake Covid arrest’

During a two-day sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey in London this week, the court heard how Wayne Couzens most likely kidnapped Sarah Couzens in a fake Covid arrest using handcuffs and his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card as details of her rape and murder were revealed for the first time.

Couzens was said to be wearing his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch, similar to a pepper spray holder, when he kidnapped Ms Everard. He later burned her body in a refrigerator in a woodland before dumping her in a nearby pond for police dogs to find.

Read more on this story:

Wayne Couzens kidnapped Sarah Everard using handcuffs and ‘fake Covid arrest’

Metropolitan Police officer to be sentenced after raping and murdering 33-year-old before burning body in fridge in woods

Chiara Giordano1 October 2021 10:30
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Police investigate ‘homophobic and racist messages killer swapped with colleagues’

A police watchdog is reportedly investigating homophobic, racist and misogynist messages Sarah Everard’s killer is alleged to have exchanged with police colleagues.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was investigating the conduct of five serving officers and a former Metropolitan Police officer on a WhatsApp group.

They are alleged to have exchanged “discriminatory messages” over the course of seven months in 2019.

My colleague Zoe Tidman has more details:

Police investigate ‘messages Sarah Everard’s killer swapped with colleagues’

Five serving officers under investigation by Independent Office for Police Conduct over Whatsapp group

Chiara Giordano1 October 2021 10:59
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Met chief Cressida Dick is ‘willing to change’, says policing minister

Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick is “willing to change” and can lead reforms at the force, the policing minister has claimed.

Ms Dick is under intense pressure to resign after details emerged of serious failures in the build-up to Sarah Everard’s killing - but Kit Malthouse defended the commissioner, saying she had “one of the top three most difficult jobs in the country” and remained the “right person for the job”.

My colleague Adam Forrest has more on this story:

Met chief Cressida Dick is ‘willing to change’, says policing minister

Commissioner remains ‘right person for the job’, says Kit Malthouse

Chiara Giordano1 October 2021 11:25
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Met Police advice for women if they feel unsafe with an officer triggers huge backlash

Metropolitan Police advice that women should “run away” if they feel unsafe in the presence of a lone police officer has been met with a huge backlash, with people saying it puts the onus on women to keep themselves safe.

Reacting to the advice, women said running away from the police would not work in practice and pointed out that having to call the police on the police was bleakly ironic.

My colleague Kate Plummer has the full reaction over on our sister site:

Backlash as police advise women to ‘run away’ if they feel unsafe with an officer

Metropolitan Police advice that women should “run away” if they feel unsafe in the presence of a lone police officer has been met with a huge backlash, with people saying it puts the onus on women to keep themselves safe.

Chiara Giordano1 October 2021 11:55
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Sarah Everard spent ‘last hours on Earth with very worst of humanity,’ says mother

Sarah Everard “spent her last hours on Earth with the very worst of humanity”, her mother said as her family demanded killer Wayne Couzens look at them in court as they read their victim impact statements.

Reading a statement at the Old Bailey in London, Susan Everard said she was “tormented” by the thought of what her daughter had endured.

Ms Everard’s sister, Katie Everard, described Couzens as a “monster”.

Read more details of their statements here:

Sarah Everard spent ‘last hours on Earth with very worst of humanity,’ says mother

Victim’s father demands killer Wayne Couzens looks at him as family read victim impact statements in court

Chiara Giordano1 October 2021 12:24

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