On the day that PC Wayne Couzens pled guilty to the kidnap and rape of Sarah Everard, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick painted the case as a rare exception, saying the force “on occasion has a bad ’un”.
Since that comment, three more serving Met police officers have been jailed for crimes where the victims were women, leading campaigners to warn that the force cares more about its reputation that the safety of women.
On Monday, former PCs Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis, who took pictures of murdered sisters for a “cheap thrill”, were jailed for two years and nine months.
The two officers had been assigned to guard the crime scene overnight after the bodies of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were found in a park in near Wembley, north-west London, last June.
While they were supposed to be preserving the crime scene, the officers took pictures of the victims' bodies and shared them in a WhatsApp group, referring to them as "dead birds".
PC Lewis edited a picture of his face onto one of the photos.
Judge Mark Lucraft QC said that the actions of the two men were "utterly disgraceful", and were carried out for "some cheap thrill, kudos, a kick or some form of bragging right".
The mother of the two sisters, Mina Smallman, said that the officers’ actions were a “betrayal of catastrophic proportions” and a “sacrilegious act”.
She said: “Those police officers felt so safe, so untouchable, they felt they would take photos of our murdered daughters. Those officers dehumanised our children."
Ms Smallman called for the resignation of Dick, adding: "It’s time for her to go."
Another Met police officer was jailed just last month for assaulting his girlfriend.
PC Jamie Rayner, 28, was sentenced to two years and three months for causing actual bodily harm and engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour towards his girlfriend Bonnie Hudson, also a serving police officer.
Rayner pinned Hudson down, gripping her throat for up to 15 seconds, kicked and punched her, leaving her with bruises and a bloody lip.
He then tried to prevent Hudson from reporting the abuse to colleagues, instructing her to lie that her injuries were the result of consensual "rough sex".
Since Wayne Couzens was found guilty of the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, the Met has struggled to regain the trust of the women they are meant to protect.
Couzens used handcuffs and an unmarked vehicle to kidnap Everard while she was walking home in Clapham, south London, using his position as a police officer to falsely arrest her for breaking COVID regulations.
He is the first police officer to be handed a whole life sentence.
The case led to questions over how Couzens got through the Met's vetting process.
He had previously faced with accusations of flashing women, and was found to have exchanged racist and misogynistic WhatsApp messages with other officers whilst serving in the force.
The Met then faced further criticism for their handing of a vigil for Everard held in Clapham Common.
Officers were accused of "grabbing" and "manhandling" female protestors and restricting their right to protest gendered violence.
Dick defended the actions of her officers, saying that they had acted appropriately, as the vigil was illegal under the coronavirus lockdown regulations.
A member of feminist group Sisters Uncut said of the vigil: “The police tell us that we will only be safe if we stay at home, and there are more police on our streets. But violent perpetrators are in our homes, and perpetrators are in the metropolitan police.
“Three women a week are murdered in the UK. Gendered violence is not just a personal problem – it is structural. It happens in our homes, on the streets, at work. And the police, courts and state don’t protect us or keep us safe: they are part of the problem.”
The Met then received more criticism for the safety guidance it issued to reassure women as the details of Everard's murder came to light.
It was mocked for telling women to flag down a bus for help if they feel they are being falsely arrested by a police officer and even suggested calling 999 if they feel they are in "real and immediate danger."
Shadow domestic violence and safeguarding minister Jess Phillips criticised this advice in an interview on Radio 4 shortly afterwards.
She said: “If I were Sarah Everard that night, I would have got in the car. And almost anyone would have got in the car.
“So the suggestion that somehow, we have to change our behaviour once again, I have to say a bit tiring.”
Speaking about the three officers who were jailed, a spokesperson from Reclaim These Streets told Yahoo News UK: "The Met under Cressida Dick consistently values its own reputation over the safety and lives of women.
"What this tells us is that, to the Met, our lives matter less than rooting out the systemic racism and misogyny inherent in their policies."
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