How did a man who was nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ three years before joining the Metropolitan Police manage to pass its vetting process, let alone get into a position where he could kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard?
Those are the questions that should be forcing Met Commissioner Cressida Dick out of her job now, yet she seems secure in her post. For how long?
Wayne Couzens, who last week admitted raping and murdering Sarah Everard, was given the unsavoury nickname by colleagues at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which he joined in 2011, because he made some female colleagues feel uncomfortable, according to the Evening Standard.
The paper also reported that Kent Police took no action in 2015 after it was alleged that he had been seen driving around Dover, naked from the waist down.
And the Met – which he joined in 2018 – received further accusations of indecent exposure by Couzens on two further occasions. Neither of them were investigated properly in the days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard.
We’ve heard this story before: it isn’t such a long time since PC (yes, he’s still on the force) Oliver Banfield was convicted of assaulting a woman while she was walking home – just as Sarah Everard was when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered. His colleagues on the Warwickshire force had initially ignored the complaint and would have done nothing about it if the victim had not found CCTV footage that could be used as evidence.
The BBC has reported that the Independent Office for Police Conduct said a total of 12 gross misconduct or misconduct notices had so far been served on police officers from multiple forces in relation to the Couzens case, including about the handling of two separate claims that Couzens had indecently exposed himself; the Banfield case wasn’t a single instance of police turning a blind eye to the crimes of fellow officers – it is an epidemic.
Ms Everard’s murder sparked a wave of protest across the UK that was put down mercilessly by police forces – most notably the Met and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. An independent Parliamentary committee has found that both forces breached the fundamental rights of protesters but neither has accepted the finding and nothing will be done to improve procedures.
Indeed, women across the UK have cause to be even more concerned that the Tory government is bringing in a law to reform criminal investigations and justice – that will put women like Sarah Everard in even more danger.
Two-faced Cressida Dick, who presided over the Met Police throughout, and who supported police in their despicable mishandling of the Sarah Everard vigil, hypocritically voiced platitudes of regret over the murder and anger over the crimes of her now-former officer after attending court.
She said she felt “sickened, angered and devastated” by the crimes: “They are dreadful and everyone in policing feels betrayed.
“Sarah was a fantastic, talented young woman with her whole life ahead of her and that has been snatched away.”
But that hasn’t saved her from the court of public opinion:
I think that if a serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens was known as 'The Rapist' by his colleagues, and then went on to commit the horrific murder of Sarah Everard, then Cressida Dick's position is now untenable. She's been far from faultless in other areas.
— Matthew Payne (@Matthew82069336) July 10, 2021
Police forces ignored sexual harassment allegations against Sarah Everard’s killer.
— The Canary (@TheCanaryUK) July 10, 2021
Since Sarah Everard was abducted 52 women have been killed where a man is the principal suspect, according to @K_IngalaSmith's Counting Dead Women. At least 83 women are suspected to have been killed by men since the start of 2021 https://t.co/sAPmDF2ZLT #femicide
— Alexandra Topping (@LexyTopping) July 9, 2021
I’m starting to see a pattern here… pic.twitter.com/S0PMJdeVmP
— Aleesha Khaliq (@a_leesha1) July 10, 2021
It seems strange that Cressida Dick now expresses sadness, anger and regret at the sickening murder of Sarah Everard but only a few weeks ago when her officers behaved appallingly at the Vigil for Sarah Everard, she defended their behaviour unreservedly
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) July 9, 2021
This Writer is willing to suggest that public confidence in the Met – and in policing in general – has never fallen so low (although it will fall further if the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is allowed to become law in its current form).
Dick has presided over a quantum plunge in the reputation of the police, ignoring one scandal after another and allowing her force to become a cesspit of corruption and crime.
Meanwhile, the successful investigation of crimes against the public has suffered. How can it not? We can’t trust the police to do their job and we’re living in fear that they will commit crimes against us themselves.
It is a poisonous situation and Cressida Dick has done much to create it.
How long are we going to allow her to continue worsening it?
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