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Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick apologised to the public in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, saying the PC responsible had “brought shame” on her police force.
Speaking outside the Old Bailey after Wayne Couzens was jailed for the rest of his life, the Scotland Yard chief said she understood the murder has eroded public faith in her officers.
“I am absolutely horrified that this man used his position of trust to deceive and coerce Sarah, and I know you all are too”, she said.“His actions were a grave betrayal of everything policing stands for.”
Dame Cressida, who sat through the two-day sentencing hearing, called the abduction of Ms Everard as she walked home alone, rape and murder “unthinkable and appalling”.
“He showed himself to be the coward he is”, she said of Couzens, saying her officers are expected to be “worthy, courageous, and professional”.
“As the judge said, he has eroded confidence that the public is entitled to have in the police”, she continued, saying it “critical” that officers can be trusted.
“This man has brought shame on the Met. Speaking frankly, as an organisation, we have been rocked.”
Dame Cressida paid tribute to the officers who helped to catch and convict Couzens, saying: “This is the Met I know. It is capable and caring, full of people who are good and kind, working all their lives to protect others.
“I absolutely know there are those who feel their trust in us is shaken. I recognise for some people, the precious bond of trust has been damaged.”
Vowing to repair the damage, Dame Cressida added: “I know what happened to Sarah and what happened to other women in London and beyond in recent times has raised important questions about women’s safety.
“Here in the Met, I commit to keep working with others to improve our safety and reduce the fear of violence.”
She concluded her remarks by saying “I am so sorry”, and that she shares the “fury and overwhelming sadness” of others.