London police called to clean up their ranks

Scotland Yard is in crisis. The Metropolitan Police of Greater London has been blamed since the end of September by the media and a large part of the British political spectrum for failing to detect in its ranks the murderer of Sarah Everard, Wayne Couzens. In March, this serving police officer from the Met kidnapped the 33-year-old in the middle of London. He raped her, burned her body, although he had already committed sexual assaults and his ex-colleagues in the Kent police (service through which he had gone before joining Scotland Yard) were calling him between them “The rapist”.

Wayne Couzens, 48, was arrested on March 9 and, at the time, already, the horror of his crime had shaken the British, launching a very lively debate on the need to finally seriously fight against violence against women . The details of the murder, made public at the end of September at the Old Bailey (the High Criminal Court in London), and the exceptional nature of the verdict (life imprisonment, a first for a police officer) have revived the controversy, this time with the venerable institution policewoman in sight.

A “shame” for the institution

The police are supposed to use their power “In the public interest”, and, if this principle is undermined, “It is one of the main safeguards of the rule of law which is irreparably endangered in this country”, Judge Fulford said when delivering the verdict on September 30. “This is a very difficult time for the thousands and thousands of police officers who are going to have to work hard, very hard, in order to regain the trust of the public,” admitted the next day Kit Malthouse, the secretary of state in charge of the police.

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Met boss Dame Cressida Dick, 60, also confessed that the murder of Sarah Everard by one of her officers was a ” shame “ for the institution. Even if this is not her first controversy, she has so far resisted numerous calls for resignation. In March, precisely, he was severely criticized for the way in which the police had acted during a vigil organized in memory of Sarah Everard. On the pretext of enforcing the sanitary rules then in force, the police intervened in a very muscular manner, pinning demonstrators to the ground.

He was also accused of having defended the method of stop and search, allowing police officers to search passers-by without an arrest warrant, a process used disproportionately on black and Asian minorities. But Cressida Dick also launched a campaign to increase the recruitment of policewomen and denounced the clear cuts in the workforce, the lack of community policing (blamed in part for the record level of knife crime in the streets of London).

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