The force is facing scrutiny and criticism for its handling of violence against women after the murder of Sarah Everard was sentenced last week.
LONDON – London’s Metropolitan Police on Monday announced an independent review of its culture and standards following damaging revelations about police behavior during a sentencing hearing last week for a police officer who killed a 33-year-old woman. because she was going home at night.
The review comes after several high-profile incidents last year, including the murder of a woman, Sarah Everard have revived investigations into the police department and Britain’s justice system.
The conviction of Ms Everard’s assailant, Wayne Coogens, who was a police officer at the time, and the disclosure that she used her position of authority to commit the crime, angered critics, who say the police and the courts has not done enough to address. Male violence against women.
They cite repeated failures by prosecutors to punish domestic abusers and systemic misdemeanors in dealing with complaints from sexual assault and rape victims, and their failure to tackle the culture of misogyny within the force on police. alleges.
“We rely on public confidence,” said Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick, As it announced the review on Monday. “In this country, policing is done with consent, and undoubtedly the murder of Sarah and other incidents have damaged public trust.”
Ms Dick said the review would be led by a “high-profile independent individual” and examine the internal culture, professional standards, systems and leadership training in the force.
Watchdog groups had pushed for a public inquiry into the police department’s approach to violence against women and the behavior of its officers, and there were renewed calls last week for Ms Dick’s resignation. But she added that she will not back down from her role.
“I am absolutely determined that we should rebuild public confidence as soon as possible,” Ms Dick told the BBC.
During last week’s sentencing hearings for Mr. Coogens, new details emerged about the way he used his position of authority and police equipment to falsely arrest Ms. Everard before abducting, raping and murdering her. The police force has also faced criticism for failing to respond to previous allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr.
The announcement of the independent review came soon after a London police officer was arrested and charged with rape on Sunday.
Police in Hertfordshire, an area north of London, identified the officer as 46-year-old David Carrick, and said the alleged attack took place in September 2020. According to a statement from the London Metropolitan, he was off-duty in the area at the time of the alleged attack. Police Service.
Mr. Carrick was assigned Parliamentary and Diplomatic Security Command of the Metropolitan Police, the same unit in which Mr. Cousins worked. The unit, which has hundreds of officers, is responsible for the security of the Houses of Parliament and foreign embassies, and also provides officers for the security of government ministers.
The statement said he was suspended from his duties as an officer, and a referral was made to an independent office that oversees police conduct. Mr Carrick, who appeared by video at a local magistrates court on Monday, will remain in custody until a hearing on 1 November.
Ms Dick said in a statement she was “deeply concerned” about Mr Carrick’s arrest.
“I fully recognize that the public will be very concerned too,” she said.
Last week, police released a series of safety tips for women if they encounter an officer, or someone they consider a threat. Guidance included asking the officer “search” questions, running to a nearby house, or flagging a bus.
The advice was also accompanied by a list of other measures that police had taken or planned to take after Ms Everard’s murder, but many critics said they called for police to address internal failures of the police and to deal with violence. Little was done to address the internal failures. women more widely.
During the sentencing of Mr. Coogens, prosecutors revealed that he used his handcuffs and other police equipment and knowledge to kidnap Ms. Everard on the pretext that she was arrested for violating COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. was going.
Last week, the Metropolitan Police also admitted there were possible mistakes in the investigation prior to Mr. Coogens joining the force.