Priti Patel announces inquiry into murder of Sarah Everard

Priti Patel has announced an inquiry into “systemic failures” in the Metropolitan police that allowed a serving police officer to abuse his position to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard.

The home secretary said: “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.

“I can confirm today that there will be an inquiry to give the independent oversight needed to ensure that something like this can never happen again.”

The decision represents a change of direction for the government and will increase calls for the resignation of Cressida Dick, the Met police commissioner.

Johnson said on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday there was no need for an inquiry. He suggested the ongoing investigation by the Met into other wrongdoing by Everard’s killer, Wayne Couzens, and by the police watchdog into his connections to other officers, should first be allowed to proceed.

The culture of the Met has been under scrutiny since it emerged that Couzens was known by colleagues to have a history of sexual aggression towards women.

On Sunday, the group Conservative Young Women spoke out in the wake of Everard’s murder and after Met police officers were charged over photographs taken at the scene of the murders of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, which were then allegedly shared in a WhatsApp group.

“Many of us feel unsafe and all of us are sad and angry that the epidemic of violence against women and girls has been left unaddressed for so long,” the group said, adding: “Every one of us has thought to ourselves, ‘That could have been me’.”

Last week, it was revealed that five serving officers, including three from the Met, were under investigation for sharing racist and misogynistic messages with Couzens on a WhatsApp group.

A freedom of information request showed that more than half of Met officers found guilty of sexual misconduct over a four-year period to 2020 kept their jobs, a total of 43 officers out of 83, or 52%.

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