PC WAYNE Couzens, who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard was sentenced yesterday to a ‘whole life order’, which means he will never be released from prison and will die behind bars.
Labour MP Harriet Harman and ‘Mother of the House’ of Commons added her voice to the chorus of calls for the head of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, to resign.
Lord Justice Fulford said while sentencing Couzens: ‘You have eroded the confidence that the public are entitled to have in the police forces of England and Wales.
‘It is critical that every subject in this country can trust police officers when they encounter them and submit to their authority.’
Met Police Cressida Dick was in the court room.
MP Harman wrote directly to Dick calling for her to resign. Speaking yesterday, Harman said: ‘It was on Cressida Dick’s watch that Wayne Couzens sexual offences a few days before were swept under the carpet.’
MP Harman also sent a letter yesterday to the Tory Home Secretary in which she wrote: ‘A serving police officer abducted Sarah Everard using his powers of arrest in order to then rape and kill her. The confidence of women in the police will have been shattered.
‘It is clear that there had been all too many warning signs about him which had been swept under the carpet. It cannot be rebuilt with the attempt to reassure that this was just, as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said, one “bad-un”.’
She said: ‘I think it is impossible for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to oversee this programme and I have therefore called on her to resign.’
Questions are being asked about the police’s vetting process and how he was allowed to commit a number of criminal acts and continue as a serving police officer.
Couzens joined as a special constable in Kent about twenty years ago. From there he went into the civil nuclear constabulary, effectively protecting a dangerous nuclear power station down on the English Channel.
From there he went into diplomatic protection within the Metropolitan Police.
Along the way there was an allegation of indecent exposure, and then another two further allegations of indecent exposure earlier this year in the weeks leading up to the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard.
There is a major investigation by the independent watchdog about how he was able to continue as a serving police officer while these allegations had been made.
Former chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police Susannah Fish said: ‘The fragile trust between women and the police has been fractured even further.’
She added: ‘Police officers have killed 15 women over the last twelve years, culminating in Sarah Everard. This isn’t rare, this isn’t unusual. More than one woman a year dying at the hands of a police officer is in my mind usual.
‘And this happens across the country. There is a real focus on the Met at this moment, quite rightly so, but this is a countrywide issue, let alone the number of police officers who commit sexual misconduct while a police officer.’
Campaign group Inquest said: ‘To date there have been 1,796 deaths in police custody or otherwise following contact with the police in England and Wales since 1990.’
Dick gave the order to forcibly disperse the vigil at Clapham Common Bandstand on Saturday March 13, where thousands of people were peacefully paying their last respects to Sarah Everard. Police officers stormed the bandstand with young women forced to the ground and arrested by burly officers.
Putting to bed any suggestion that it was a case of ‘a few bad apples’, a report released earlier this year, in June confirmed that the entire barrel is rotten to the core. The 1,200-page independent report into the murder of 37-year-old private detective Daniel Morgan in south London in 1987 concluded that the force was ‘institutionally corrupt’.
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick was personally criticised in the report for holding back information that the investigation was seeking.
In 1999, the MacPherson Report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence concluded that the Metropolitan police was ‘institutionally racist’.