Crisis-hit Metropolitan Police unveils plan to keep women safe on street

·3-min read
Crisis-hit Metropolitan Police unveils plan to keep women safe on street

Scotland Yard has pledged to regain the trust of women after being buffeted by an unprecedented crisis in public confidence since the murders of Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman.

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick on Wednesday launched an action plan that aims to tackle violence against women and girls. She has already promised to root out sexual misconduct and domestic violence by her own officers and staff.

She is seeking to repair a “precious bond broken” by recent scandals that have led to calls for her to resign.

Dame Cressida was meeting with community groups from Lambeth and Southwark at Brixton police station this afternoon as the action plan was announced. The plan women and girls.

She pledged to raise professional seeks to increase the number of perpetrators brought to justice for violence against females, improve victim care across the justice system and reduce repeat victimisation.

Dame Cressida said she would increase women’s confidence in the police and, in doing so, improve the reporting of crimes.

The Met will also step up police activity around bars and nightclubs, with plainclothes and uniform officers deployed together in a bid to identify and prevent predatory offending.

As announced last month, the Met is deploying 650 new officers into town centres, while patrols of open spaces and transport hubs have been increased. Specialist training is being given to 8,500 officers to improve their response to domestic violence.

Serving Pc Wayne Couzens, 48, abused his position to kidnap, rape and murder marketing executive Ms Everard, 33, as she walked home in Clapham on March 3. He was given a whole life sentence in September. Social worker Ms Henry, 46, and her photographer sister Ms Smallman, 27, were stabbed to death in a park in Wembley in June last year.

Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, was handed a whole life order at the Old Bailey for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard (Family Handout/CPS/PA) (PA Media)
Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, was handed a whole life order at the Old Bailey for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard (Family Handout/CPS/PA) (PA Media)

Pcs Deniz Jaffer, 47, and Jamie Lewis, 33, who were assigned to guard the crime scene, on Tuesday admitted sharing pictures of the sisters’ bloodied bodies with colleagues and civilians via WhatsApp. They face lengthy prison sentences after pleading guilty to misconduct in a public office.

Last month Dame Cressida said: “We recognise the grave levels of public concern following the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard and other deeply troubling incidents and allegations. I have said that we know a precious bond has been broken.”

Mina Smallman, the mother of the murdered sisters, said Dame Cressida must carry the can for the Met’s failings.

Outside the Old Bailey on Tuesday, she said the idea of “bad apples” within police forces was flawed because corruption could “contaminate” other officers.

“Expose them, deal with them, change them, get them out of the police force. You need to drill down and get the rot out once and for all,” she said.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has launched an independent inquiry into “systematic failures” that allowed Couzens to be employed as a police officer and use handcuffs to kidnap Ms Everard off the street.

Baroness Casey of Blackstock will lead a separate review of culture and standards at the Metropolitan Police in the wake of Ms Everard’s murder.

Detectives are also carrying out an “urgent examination” of allegations of sexual and domestic abuse against officers and staff, including a thorough check of their vetting history.

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