Priti Patel’s inquiry into Sarah Everard’s killer could prove a turning point for women and girls

Editorial: It could broadly follow the example of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, with its famous charge of ‘institutional racism’ levelled at the police

Tuesday 05 October 2021 21:30
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<p>Ms Patel was right to leave open the option of converting this official inquiry into a full public inquiry</p>

Ms Patel was right to leave open the option of converting this official inquiry into a full public inquiry

Even Priti Patel gets it right, sometimes. The inquiry the home secretary has announced into the “systematic failures” of the police that led to the murder of Sarah Everard is a proportionate and timely one – for the time being, at any rate. The remit of the official inquiry seems apt in the circumstances.

Logically, there will be two parts to the exercise. First, attention will be focused on why it came to be that Wayne Couzens was taken on as a police officer, and, moreover, why he was allowed to serve despite disturbing allegations and rumours surrounding him, and why essential vetting procedures were not properly followed. Why, in other words, was he at large and left free to meticulously plan his heinous crimes?

The facts of the murder case are not in doubt, but there are pressing matters concerning why Couzens behaved the way that he did, and why three police forces (Civil Nuclear, Kent and the Met) failed to act against him.

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