Sarah Everard: Baroness Casey to lead Met review into culture and standards

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Dame Cressida Dick alongside police officers during a walkabout in Westminster (PA)
Dame Cressida Dick alongside police officers during a walkabout in Westminster (PA)

Baroness Casey of Blackstock will lead a review into the Met’s culture and standards in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder at the hands of a police officer.

Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced the appointment on Friday after earlier this week setting out the plans for the “independent and far-reaching review” to also look at the force’s leadership, recruitment, vetting, training and communications.

The Met chief said: “The appointment of Baroness Casey to lead the independent review in to our culture and standards is an important step in our journey to rebuild public trust.

“Louise is extremely experienced and highly respected and I know will ask the difficult questions needed for this thorough review. This will build a stronger Met, ensure lasting improvement our service to London and public confidence in us.

Baroness Casey will lead the review (PA Archive)
Baroness Casey will lead the review (PA Archive)

“I hope her appointment and the significant urgent actions we are taking will go some way to provide immediate and vital reassurance to Londoners.”

The review is expected to take about six months.

Baroness Casey said: “Trust is given to the police by our, the public’s, consent. So any acts that undermine that trust must be examined and fundamentally changed.

Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Pc Wayne Couzens (PA Media)
Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Pc Wayne Couzens (PA Media)

“This will no doubt be a difficult task but we owe it to the victims and families this has affected and the countless decent police officers this has brought into disrepute.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel launched an independent inquiry into “systematic failures” that allowed Ms Everard’s killer PC Wayne Couzens to be employed by the force’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.

Couzens, 48, received a whole life sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old marketing executive Ms Everard in Clapham, south London.

Baroness Casey’s spotlight will also be shone on the force’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command - where Couzens worked - to look at whether there are any “specific issues” within the unit.

Armed officer Couzens used his police issue handcuffs and warrant card to stage a fake arrest so he could kidnap Ms Everard before he raped and murdered her.

It later emerged he was known as “the rapist” by staff at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary because he made female colleagues feel so uncomfortable.

He had been accused of indecent exposure in Kent in 2015 and in London in the days before Ms Everard’s murder, but was allowed to continue working.

Other probes are also being carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services and the Independent Office of Police Conduct.

According to The Times, Ms Patel has set Dame Cressida three key targets to meet in order to keep her job: Statistics must show that serious violence and knife crime in London is falling; the Met must show evidence they are improving their response to violence against women and girls; and the force must co-operate with an independent inquiry into its failures that led to Couzens murdering Everard.

Meanwhile, police data for England and Wales forces has shown The Met has the lowest success rate for solving sexual and violent crime, with just one in 20 offences resulting in a charge, according to the Daily Telegraph.

IOPC director general Michael Lockwood said in two years the watchdog has seen 394 referrals where abuse of power for sexual gain by police officers was a factor.

Of these, 106 were serious enough to warrant an investigation by the police watchdog.

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