Twelve officers investigated by police watchdog over case of Sarah Everard's killer

·2-min read

Twelve officers are being investigated by the police watchdog over matters relating to the case of Sarah Everard's killer Wayne Couzens.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said: "We have served a total of 12 gross misconduct or misconduct notices on police officers from several forces as we continue to investigate matters linked to the conduct of PC Couzens."

It comes after Couzens, a serving Metropolitan Police officer, pleaded guilty to the murder of Ms Everard - in a case which caused widespread shock and outrage, leading to protests against the rate of violence against women.

The IOPC have issued the notices linked to several different ongoing investigations relating to the Couzens case.

One probe involves allegations that a Met Police constable, who was still on probation, shared an inappropriate graphic relating to the case with officers over social media before manning the cordon at the scene of the search for Ms Everard.

Several notices have also been served in relation to allegations that officers shared information linked to Couzens' prosecution.

Meanwhile, a probe into the Metropolitan Police's alleged failure to investigate allegations of indecent exposure linked to Couzens in February 2021 continues.

For this, two officers are being investigated for possible breaches of professional standards.

A separate investigation is also ongoing into claims Kent Police failed to look into an incident of indecent exposure linked to Couzens as far back as 2015.

The IOPC also revealed that a probe into how Couzens sustained head injuries on two separate occasions while in custody has almost concluded.

They said that all officers involved are being treated as witnesses.

The serving of misconduct notices does not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow, the IOPC said.

It comes as Britain's most senior police officer, Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, said "no words can adequately express the profound sadness and anger and regret" felt by everyone in the force about 33-year-old Ms Everard's kidnap, rape and murder.

Speaking outside the Old Bailey, where Couzens' plea hearing took place, Dame Cressida said her thoughts were with the victim's family.

"I was able to speak to them earlier today and say again, how very sorry I am for their loss and for their pain and their suffering," she said.

"All of us in the Met are sickened, angered and devastated by this man's crimes.

"They are dreadful. Everyone in policing feels betrayed."

The force said Couzens passed vetting procedures and a review after his arrest found no information available at the time that would have changed the decision.

He joined the Met in September 2018 from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) before moving to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February 2020, where his main role was to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting