The UK home secretary has announced there will be an independent inquiry into police failings following the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer.
Speaking at the ruling Conservative Party’s conference, Priti Patel said “recent tragic events have exposed unimaginable failures in policing”.
The murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was abducted, raped and killed by a Metropolitan police officer in a case that sent shockwaves across the UK.
She disappeared on March 3 this year while walking through a London park on the way home from seeing a friend.
Wayne Couzens detained and handcuffed her on the pretext that she had broken COVID-19 lockdown rules, before kidnapping her.
He was sentenced to life in prison last Thursday for the murder.
“It is abhorrent that a serving police officer was able to abuse his position of power, authority and trust to commit such a horrific crime,” Patel said.
“The public has a right to know what systematic failures enabled his continued employment as a police officer,” she said, as she confirmed there would be an inquiry “to give the independent oversight needed to ensure something like this can never happen again.”
The Metropolitan Police force has come under intense scrutiny following the murder, and confidence in the force’s ability to protect women has been further shaken by the murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, 28, on September 17 in south London.
The department said it would soon publish a new strategy for combating violence against women.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson meanwhile backed the police force in an interview last Friday, saying he had full confidence in the force’s management.
He added that authorities should “address the issues going on within the police force”, such as officers sharing inappropriate and violent content on “WhatsApp groups”.