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Met ‘in shame’ of failure before Couzens killing Sarah Everard

A senior officer has expressed regret that Wayne Couzens was not arrested, and said his actions should make everyone in policing “hang their heads in shame”.

Ex-Met Couzens was supposed to be working from home when he committed a series of flashing incidents, and his victims have asked why he was not arrested for indecent exposure before and whether the 33-year-old Sarah Everard‘s life could have been saved from being kidnapped, raped and killed in March 2021.

He told the news: “I am deeply sorry for everything that the victims of Wayne Couzens have had to go through.

“The hurt and trauma that I’ve read in their victim impact statements and that came out in court is something that should make every single one of us in policing hang our heads in shame in terms of what they had to go through.

“We have made changes but I still believe there’s more that we can do because we need to take seriously all forms of violence against women and girls, and that does include exposure offences.

“So, if somebody was to report an offence to the Metropolitan Police now, all of those offences will be investigated by CID officers. They weren’t a few years ago.”

Cundy, who leads the force’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “Like so many, I wish he had been arrested for these offences before he went on to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard and I am sorry that he wasn’t.

“The fact he did all of this while serving as a police officer is something that brings shame on myself and all of us who swore an oath to protect those communities that we serve.

Exposure on 13 November 2020 in the Deal, Kent area. 

Exposure on 14 February 2021 in the Swanley, Kent area. 

Exposure on 27 February 2021 in the Swanley, Kent area. 

“But today my thoughts in particular are with all those that Wayne Couzens targeted, and, of course, Sarah Everard’s family.”

Cundy acknowledged more needs to be done to rebuild trust in the Met Police.

He said: “I absolutely recognise that we have a huge amount to do to earn trust to rebuild it, which is why we need to do more, we are doing more and we will continue to do more to earn that trust, particularly about how we protect women, how we tackle violence against women and girls in all of its forms.”

Cundy said the professional standards team is working to drive up standards and “identifying and rooting out those individuals who frankly should not be in our organisation and should not be police officers”.

He added: “It’s not just about protecting women. For me, and I spent most of my policing career investigating major crime, it’s about identifying the dangerous men, particularly with the dangerous offenders who prey on women.

One of the victims, a female cyclist targeted while she rode along a country lane, said the crime was not “taken as seriously” as it should have been.

“There were opportunities to identify you and they were not taken,” she said, referring to Couzens.

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