The Met Police has announced who will lead its independent review into culture and standards in the aftermath of Sarah Everard’s murder.
Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, who has faced calls to resign, announced Baroness Casey of Blackstock would lead the “independent and far-reaching review”.
It follows after Wayne Couzens, 48, was handed a whole life order for the kidnap, rape and murder of Ms Everard. He was a serving Met officer at the time, and had used a false arrest to detain the 33-year-old as she walked home from a friend’s house in South London.
What did Dame Cressida say?
The review is expected to take six months, with the findings and recommendations to be published.
Announcing the appointment of Baroness Casey she 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.
“I hope her appointment and the significant urgent actions we are taking will go some way to provide immediate and vital reassurance to Londoners.
“We recognise the grave levels of public concern following the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard and other deeply troubling incidents and allegations. I have said that we know a precious bond has been broken.
“The Met has huge numbers of wonderfully professional officers and staff but I also recognise the behaviour of too many is of serious concern.
“Today I am setting out the immediate steps we are taking.
“Compassionate, courageous, professional and always acting with integrity. This is the Met I want everyone to know. I ask you to judge us on how we turn our words into action.”
Who is Baroness Casey and what did she say?
Baroness Casey Of Blackstock is an independent advisor for social welfare, Chair of the Institute for Global Homelessness and Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords.
A former British government official, she worked on issues relating to social welfare for five Prime Ministers over the last 23 years. She was made head of the Rough Sleepers’ Unit in 1999, where she successfully led the strategy to reduce the numbers of people living on the streets by two thirds.
She said: “I am grateful to have the opportunity to undertake this important independent review for the Met and the public they serve.
“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.
“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.”
What other measures have been taken?
It is part of a range of measures the force is taking to rebuild trust after Ms Everard’s murder.
An urgent examination is also now under way into all current investigations of sexual and domestic abuse allegations against Metropolitan Police Service officers and staff.
Officers from the force’s Directorate of Professional Standards will review each of these cases, including the individual’s vetting and conduct history.
The examination will also look at sample cases from the last ten years of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse allegations where those accused remain in the Met.
Other measures include:
- Boosting the number of investigators to do more to prevent and identify the abuse of trust by officers.
- The creation of a new dedicated team to focus on the investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse.
- A review of the Parliament and Diplomatic Protection Command will be undertaken, it will focus on recruitment, vetting, culture, professional standards and supervision.
- An extra 650 dedicated officers for busy public places and other areas, often including those where women and girls often feel unsafe.
The Met review is separate to the independent inquiry announced by the Home Secretary Priti Patel on Tuesday to look into the “systematic failures” that allowed Ms Everard’s killer to be employed as a police officer.
Other probes are also being carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC).