Sarah everard

Why wasn’t Wayne Couzens stopped?

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Today, the long-awaited Home Office-commissioned Angiolini Inquiry into Wayne Couzens has been published. Couzens had kidnapped, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard three years ago. The findings were chilling, revealing that numerous opportunities to stop Couzens throughout his policing career were missed. Katy Balls talks to James Heale and Isabel Hardman about where politicians failed Sarah Everard. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Why Cressida Dick must go

After the murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, I have come to the conclusion that Cressida Dick needs to go. Yes, it’s easy to call for the resignation of a Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Things go wrong in the policing of London and when the mistakes are big enough, there will be calls for heads to roll. Often, such calls are just another way of expressing anger. But not only has Cressida Dick failed to produce tangible improvements over the past four years: under her tenure, things have become significantly worse. I was a police officer for 30 years and I’m afraid there is much truth in what critics of

Priti Patel strikes a bullish tone

The theme of Priti Patel’s party conference speech this afternoon was very much ‘large and in charge’. She devoted much of her address to talking about the immigration system, as you’d expect, promising stronger crackdowns on people being smuggled across the Channel in boats. Patel focused on the Vote Leave favourite: taking back control Whereas Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have talked about Britain ‘voting for change’ in 2016, Patel focused on the Vote Leave favourite: taking back control. She told the conference hall this was the key theme of her reforms to immigration, saying: ‘My new plan for immigration is already making its way through parliament. At the heart of

The Met must face the truth about Sarah Everard’s murder

‘We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for,’ said the Metropolitan Police in response to the sentencing of Wayne Couzens. He is the former police officer who, when in service, kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, later setting fire to her body. The case in March sparked national outrage about the levels of male violence towards women and girls. Not only do significant numbers of police officers spectacularly fail women when it comes to sexual and domestic violence, but they commit these crimes themselves. The two things are connected. If male police officers see women as worthless, and if there is little

Isabel Hardman

Harriet Harman calls for Cressida Dick to resign

Labour’s Harriet Harman has called for Cressida Dick to resign as chief of the Metropolitan Police after Wayne Couzens was sentenced to a whole-life order for the murder, rape and kidnapping of Sarah Everard. He is the first police officer to receive such a sentence. In a letter to the Commissioner, Harman writes that ‘women’s confidence in the police will have been shattered’ by the case and that it is ‘not possible for you [Dick] to lead’ the changes necessary in the force following this case. It is significant that Harman has called for Dick to go. She is not a bandwagon politician and does not tend to call for scalps,

Mary Wakefield

How would making misogyny a hate crime have saved Sarah Everard?

I’m not sure very many of our politicians, the London Mayor or even the Met can really be said to care about the death of Sabina Nessa, the poor young school-teacher murdered in London nearly a fortnight ago. If you claim to care about the victim of a terrible crime, if you’re going to grandstand and say ‘something must be done’, you have to care about what actually happened to her. The circumstances matter — else how can you try to prevent it happening again? ‘Say her name’, they all intone, before using that same name as a sort of springboard from which they can leap on to their own

Is making misogyny a hate crime really a victory for women?

Misogyny will now be recorded as a hate crime by police. But is this really the victory for women’s rights that campaigners are claiming it to be? It’s absolutely right, of course, that the law is bolstered so that incidents against women are taken seriously by the police. But the wording of the policy is disappointingly woolly, relying heavily on what the victim perceives as the motivation for the crime. Speaking in the House of Lords, Home Office minister Baroness Williams said that from the Autumn:  ‘We will ask police forces to record and identify any crimes of violence against the person… where the victim perceives it to have been motivated

Rod Liddle

The politicisation of Sarah Everard’s death

A woman called Jenny Jones, now elevated to Baroness Moonbeam, or something, in the House of Lords has proposed a 6 p.m. curfew for all men everywhere. This would prevent men from killing women on the streets. Mrs Moonbeam is a member of the Green party and presumably agrees with their manifesto which insists that men who identify as women are women and there’s an end to it. In which case all I would need to do is don a wig and take to the streets — and upon being apprehended by a policeman simply explain that my name was Loretta and I’d just popped out to do a spot

Why I won’t be replacing Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan may have been the UK equivalent of a TV shock-jock, but there’s another side to him. I’ve known Piers for more than 30 years — we went to the same journalism college — and he has a large heart. Years ago Judy and I and the kids were holidaying in Florida and, unknown to us, we were papped in a hotel pool. The photos were hawked around the tabloids and I had a call from Piers, then editor of the Daily Mirror: ‘These pool snaps… I’ve bought them, exclusively.’ ‘Cheers, Piers. I thought you were a mate.’ ‘No, no — I did it as a favour. I’m suggesting

Portrait of the week: Tributes to Sarah Everard, rows over AstraZeneca and Nokia cuts jobs

Home A Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens, 48, was charged with the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who was last seen on 3 March as she walked home from Clapham to Brixton. A mass vigil on Clapham Common was called off after the High Court declined to interfere with a police ban on the event in accord with coronavirus regulations. The Duchess of Cambridge came alone and left some daffodils at the bandstand. Women who stayed in their hundreds saw police struggle with women who refused to leave the bandstand. There were four arrests and pictures of policemen subduing one of them, Patsy Stevenson, on the floor fed

Undercover police in nightclubs is a terrible idea

It has been a dreadful week for the police. A police officer has been charged with the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard; officers badly mishandled the Clapham Common vigil, drawing political criticism from all sides; there have been numerous calls for Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign; and now another officer involved in the search operation for Sarah Everard is under investigation for sending his colleagues a graphic meme about violence against women. In an attempt to get a grip on the situation, Boris Johnson has announced a new plan to protect women: bars and nightclubs will be patrolled by plain clothes officers to identify predatory men. There will also

Isabel Hardman

Labour’s awkward opposition to the policing bill

MPs will continue debating the second reading of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill today, with a vote later. Last night’s debate gave us a pretty good idea of what the legislation’s progress through the Commons is going to look like: it is going to be far more partisan and noisy than anything Parliament has seen in the past year. There was a battle of interventions from Conservative and Labour backbenchers as their own sides set out their positions on the bill. Tory MPs had clearly come primed to argue that voting against the legislation would be a mistake for Labour, while Opposition MPs were busy pointing out that

Who’s to blame for the Clapham Common debacle?

On Saturday evening, daughters, fathers and mothers of daughters and siblings of daughters gathered in Clapham Common at a vigil. Facing these police officers were hundreds of people seeking to remember Sarah Everard. What followed was a clash that turned what could have been a respectful memorial into a moment of apparently callous state repression threatening the future of the Met’s first female Commissioner, Cressida Dick. Dick has called out the armchair critics of her officers’ actions in Clapham. But make no mistake: the Met Police is in the dock. And Dick’s condemnation of those criticising her force won’t wash, either for politicians or the senior leadership of the Met, who jointly carry the can. 

Nick Tyrone

Priti Patel’s cowardly response to the Clapham Common debacle

Priti Patel’s reaction to the ugly scenes on Clapham Common on Saturday has been to point the finger. ‘Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting. I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened’, she has said. But do we really need to wait for a report to work out what has happened?  Perhaps, instead, the truth is rather simpler: the police were enforcing laws put into places by Priti Patel’s own government. Of course, there is some debate as to whether officers should have exercised more judgement in the applications of these laws. On this point, though, Patel has been clear:

Women have lost faith in the Metropolitan police

Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive living in Brixton, and a ‘wonderful daughter and sister’, was killed earlier this month. Last night, the women trying to remember Sarah at a vigil in Clapham Common were dragged and arrested by Metropolitan police officers. Not only did this show poor judgement, it was an unnecessary and careless use of force. Sarah Everard was just trying to walk home, the women out last night were just trying to mourn her. The Met’s chief, Cressida Dick, said after Sarah Everard’s disappearance that ‘Every woman should feel safe to walk our streets without fear of harassment or violence.’ Yet on Saturday night, her officers disturbed

Nick Tyrone

The Met badly mishandled the Clapham Common vigil

A vigil was held last night on Clapham Common to both honour the memory of Sarah Everard and to protest about the societal backdrop to her death. People were told to stay away by the police beforehand – they came anyhow. Unfortunately, the whole thing turned ugly as the London Met responded in a heavy-handed manner, clashing with those who attended, leading to at least five arrests. What made it all the worse was that the Duchess of Cambridge showed up at the vigil, giving it the feeling of an occasion that should have been tolerated. The reaction for some to this incident will be, ‘They were told to stay

Isabel Hardman

How will politicians respond to the policing of the Clapham vigil?

Late last night, politicians started scrambling to express their concern about the policing of a vigil held on Clapham Common in the memory of Sarah Everard. After images of police officers arresting women on the ground emerged, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she found some of the footage ‘upsetting’ and would be asking the Metropolitan Police for a ‘full report’. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called the scenes ‘disturbing’ and said, ‘this was not the way to police this protest’. The political implications of last night’s policing decisions are going to be very difficult for both Patel and Starmer. This week, the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill has its second

The Sarah Everard case has shown how frightened women really are

Muggers don’t carry umbrellas. Murderers don’t carry briefcases. Kidnappers don’t carry Tesco bags. These are the sorts of utterly illogical things I have been known to tell myself on a ten-minute walk home from the Tube station in the dark (past well-lit houses, on familiar roads, in a ‘nice’ part of London) as I try to stop my heart pounding quite so violently when someone happens to be following me down an otherwise empty street. Once I shut my front door behind me, I let go of these thoughts, along with the breath I hadn’t realised I’d been holding. And I think no more of it, until the next time.

Telling men to ‘educate themselves’ won’t make women safe

Sarah Everard’s disappearance has sent shockwaves throughout the capital. The case has led to women sharing stories of how they don’t feel safe walking the streets at night. One Green party peer has said men should face a curfew until things change. Others have called for men to ‘educate themselves’ about the fears women face in the wake of this tragic story. But is this really the right approach? I’m not convinced. What is clear is that Sarah Everard did nothing wrong. Returning from a friend’s house on that fateful night, she wore bright clothing, she walked down a main road, she called her boyfriend on her way back. For women, decisions about personal

The case of Sarah Everard should make us all stop and think

At the time of writing, we don’t know what happened to Sarah Everard. However this story ends, it should be an important national moment of reflection, because the way it has made a lot of people feel deserves serious attention. When I say ‘people’, I largely mean ‘women’. And that reflection should come from men. Men need to learn some lessons about the way this case makes women feel. Perhaps there is something jarring about me, a man, writing a column about women’s feelings and thoughts. Should I even be trying to describe and report the experience of a group to which I do not belong? There’s a lot of