Calls for thorough inquiry into Met failings
Metropolitan Police Officers at a protest in Trafalgar Square. Picute: CGP Grey
The inquiry into police failings over the murder of Sarah Everard must “leave no stone unturned”, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said.
Home Secretary Priti Patel announced earlier this Wednesday (6 October) that a new two-part inquiry would examine police vetting practices, professional standards and wider issues around workplace conduct following the conviction of Wayne Couzens this week.
Couzens was handed a life sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard that he carried out while he was a Metropolitan Police officer.
The details surrounding Couzens and his troubling past behaviour have raised serious questions over the Met’s culture and workplace practices.
On Monday, another serving Met officer who worked in the same unit as Wayne Couzens appeared in court accused of raping a woman he met on Tinder.
Sadiq Khan has said that these recent events – along with reports of rampant racism, misogyny and homophobia among some officers – have “shattered public confidence in the police”.
Mr Khan has said that he engaged in “detailed discussions” with the Home Secretary during a phone call over the weekend where they agreed that “the gravity of the situation required no less than a public inquiry”.
He said: “This inquiry must leave no stone unturned to ensure that the failures that led to a serving police officer killing Sarah Everard can never happen again. And while I know the vast majority of officers are decent and dedicated public servants, the inquiry must also address reports of widespread cultural issues. All police officers must adhere to the highest possible standards, we must stamp out misogyny, sexism, racism and homophobia, root out those who abuse their trusted position as officers, and ensure that tackling violence against women and girls is treated with the highest priority.
“There is no time to waste. So while this inquiry moves ahead, I’ll continue to hold the Met to account so that we start to see the changes we need right now – both to rebuild trust in the police and to make our country safer for women and girls.”
But despite widespread calls for Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to resign over a string of failings and controversies, the Mayor of London has remained steadfast in supporting her.
Last week, Mr Khan told reporters that Cressida Dick was “the right person to bring about the transformation needed” in the Met.
Dame Cressida, who has led the Met since 2017, last month had her tenure as Met Commissioner extended by a further two years despite several high-profile names calling for her resignation in an open letter.
During the summer, the commissioner’s position looked to be in doubt following the publication of the Daniel Morgan report which found the Met to be “institutionally corrupt”.
Following the publication of the report, Dame Cressida said: “I don’t believe we are institutionally corrupt. No, I don’t accept that.”
Joe Talora - Local Democracy Reporter
October 6, 2021