Sarah Everard murder: Met to launch review of standards and internal culture

The Metropolitan police is launching a review of professional standards and internal culture within the force, led by a high-profile anti-sleaze adviser, following the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer.

Writing in the Evening Standard, the Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, committed to appointing a “high-profile figure” to lead the review and to work alongside her on “standards, corruption [and] sexual misconduct”.

Dick has faced calls to resign since Wayne Couzens was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison last week for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Everard in March.

The crime sparked a fierce debate about women’s safety on Britain’s streets and triggered wider scrutiny of police culture, including sexism and inappropriate use of social media among officers.

Dick, who has received the backing of the home secretary and had her contract renewed four weeks ago, wrote: “Within a week I hope to announce a high-profile figure will be appointed to lead a review of our professional standards and internal culture. They will look at our training, leadership, processes, systems and standards of behaviour, and examine cases where officers have let the public down.

“This person will also work alongside me, challenging my senior team and our leadership on standards, corruption, sexual misconduct and how the Met responds when things go wrong.”

Dick revealed details of how 650 additional officers will be dedicated to urban centres and particular neighbourhoods to combat violence against women and girls.

The force would also unveil an action plan for tackling violence against women and girls, increasing its effectiveness in targeting perpetrators, bringing more to justice and working with the wider criminal justice system to get better outcomes, she said.

“Every single one of us in the Met realise that it will take time to rebuild your trust,” she wrote. “My pledge to you is that I will do all I can to improve women’s safety and reduce the fear of violence.

“The murder of Sarah Everard does not stand alone. I would like to say the murder of a woman in London is rare. Sadly, I cannot.”

The Met last week said it would no longer allow plainclothes officers to make arrests alone and issued guidance to the public on how to challenge them over their legitimacy. But the guidance was criticised for its suggestion that if a person still did not feel safe, they should consider “waving a bus down”.

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