Priti Patel announces independent inquiry into Sarah Everard murder

Priti Patel announces independent inquiry into Sarah Everard murder

October 5, 2021

Priti Patel announces independent inquiry into the ‘systematic failures’ that enabled Wayne Couzens to serve as a Met police officer and murder Sarah Everard to ensure ‘something like this can never happen again’

  • Priti Patel has announced an independent inquiry into murder of Sarah Everard
  • Home Secretary said the murder ‘exposed unimaginable failures in policing’ 
  • The probe will look at ‘systematic failures’ that allowed Wayne Couzens to serve 

Priti Patel today announced there will be an independent inquiry into the ‘systematic failures’ that allowed Wayne Couzens to serve as a police officer and murder Sarah Everard. 

The Home Secretary said ‘recent tragic events have exposed unimaginable failures in policing’. 

She said that the public ‘have a right to know’ why Couzens was able to be employed by the Metropolitan Police.

Addressing the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Ms Patel said: ‘I can confirm today, there will be an inquiry, to give the independent oversight needed, to ensure something like this can never happen again.’

Priti Patel today announced there will be an independent inquiry into the ‘systematic failures’ that allowed Wayne Couzens to serve as a police officer and murder Sarah Everard

Sarah Everard, 33, was murdered by policeman Wayne Couzens, 48, in London last year

Metropolitan Police firearms officer Couzens 48, was handed a whole life sentence at the Old Bailey last week for murdering Ms Everard. 

Ms Everard, 33, was walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3 when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Couzens.

Ms Patel said: ‘This Government will always back the brave men and women of our police.

‘And it is because of our strong relationship with the police, that I can ask the difficult questions and support them to do better.

‘Recent tragic events have exposed unimaginable failures in policing. It is abhorrent that a serving police officer was able to abuse his position of power, authority and trust to commit such a horrific crime.

‘The public have a right to know what systematic failures enabled his continued employment as a police officer. We need answers as to why this was allowed to happen.

‘I can confirm today, there will be an inquiry, to give the independent oversight needed, to ensure something like this can never happen again.’

The inquiry will be split into two parts, with the first examining Couzens’ [revious behaviour. 

It will seek to establish a ‘definitive account’ of his conduct leading up to his conviction, as well ‘any opportunities missed’.

The second part of the probe will look at ‘specific issues raised by the first part of the inquiry’. 

That could include examining wider issues across policing, including vetting practices, discipline and workplace behaviour.

Ms Patel will also write to the independent police inspectorate HMICFRS to commission a ‘thematic inspection of vetting and counter-corruption procedures in policing across England and Wales’. 

This will look at how forces detect and deal with misogynistic and predatory behaviour.  

A chairman for the inquiry and its terms of reference will be announced by the Government in due course.      

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