TWELVE cops are being probed by the police watchdog over allegations that they failed to investigate incidents of indecent exposure allegedly committed by Sarah Everard’s killer.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said they had served 12 gross misconduct or misconduct notices on cops from several forces as they look into a string of allegations surrounding Wayne Couzens.
Sarah Everard was abducted while walking home to Brixton, south London in March and her body was later discovered more than 50 miles away in Kent. A post mortem report revealed she had been strangled.
Couzens, a former gun cop who served with the Met since 2018, has admitted the kidnap, rape and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive, as well as the crime itself.
Today he entered a guilty plea at the Old Bailey. He had previously admitted charges of kidnapping and rape.
Among the ongoing investigations is a probe into alleged Met Police failures to investigate two incidents of indecent exposure linked to Couzens in London in February 2021 – just weeks before Miss Everard's disappearance.
Two officers are being investigated for possible breaches of professional standards at misconduct level.
A separate investigation is also examining alleged Kent Police failures to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to the officer in Kent in 2015. However, no notices have been served, the IOPC said.
The regulator will soon conclude an investigation into how Couzens suffered head injuries when in custody on March 10 and 12 after he was arrested on suspicion of Sarah’s murder.
All officers involved have been treated as witnesses, an IOPC spokesperson confirmed.
Meanwhile, another investigation continues into allegations that a probationary Metropolitan Police constable, who later manned a cordon in the case, shared an "inappropriate graphic" with colleagues via WhatsApp.
One officer has been served with a gross misconduct notice and six others have been handed misconduct notices.
It comes as part of an investigation into allegations officers from a number of forces breached standards of professional behaviour by not reporting the graphic to bosses.
The alleged misconduct is said to have taken place while they shared information linked to the prosecution of Couzens via WhatsApp.
HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, where you call 999 and press ‘55’ if you can’t safely speak.
- Always keep some money or a bank card on you, including change in case you need a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to move towards an exit if you are inside the house and get your phone in case you need to call for help.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other potential weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom.
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available every day from 10am-6pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org
SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – email@example.com.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
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