The assassination of Sarah Everard has heightened calls for police reform in London.
After the murdering cop responsible for the death of Sarah Everard was jailed this week, calls for further reforms to London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) have gotten stronger.
Former MPS officer Wayne Couzens kidnapped, raped, and murdered Everard, a 33-year-old marketing professional, in February. Her death has generated an outcry from British women and civil society organizations, who are demanding major changes to the department, which they accuse of being inept, institutionally racist, and incapable of safeguarding women’s safety on British streets.
The resignation of MPS Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, the first woman and openly homosexual person to occupy the position, is one of the requests. Dame Cressida’s career has been marred by controversy since she took office in 2017, but the recent series of high-profile killings and disappearances of women has infuriated the British public.
Following Everard’s murder, MPS officers disrupted a vigil for her, claiming that they were enforcing COVID-19 standards. Despite the physical conflicts between police and a mostly female throng of protesters, Dame Cressida deflected blame away from her officers, alleging that indignation was fueled by social media remarks.
The MPS has also been chastised for failing to spot red flags in Couzens’ background checks before hiring him. Five other policemen are also being examined after misogynistic and other derogatory communications were discovered in a Whatsapp group during the investigation into Everard’s death.
The murder of Sabina Nessa, a 28-year-old woman, and the MPS’ handling of the disappearances of Black women and girls in London have prompted claims of institutional racism against the police.
Couzens was sentenced to life in jail on Thursday, and Dame Cressida apologized to Everard’s family. She expressed her condolences for their death and promised to work to “increase women’s safety and minimize violent fear.”
“I recognize that our priceless relationship of trust has been shattered for some people.”
Commissioner Cressida Dick of the Metropolitan Police Service has pledged to “improve women’s safety and diminish the fear of violence.”
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So far, that vow has only served to inflame the Met’s wrath.
In response to Everard’s murder, the MPS stated how it will address women’s safety concerns and issued recommendations for individuals approached by lone police officers on Thursday. If a bus is approaching, the advise includes “waving down a bus” or calling the cops. Brief News from Washington Newsday.