Almost one in three police forces have referred allegations of sexual assault and harassment against their own officers to the police watchdog in the days following the sentencing of Wayne Couzens for Sarah Everard’s murder. According to a report in the Observer, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has received 27 referrals involving officers and serious sexual offences in the week after Couzens was handed a whole-life term on 30 September for the kidnap, rape and murder of Everard while he was a serving officer.
According to Mark Townsend, allegations involving 14 forces ‘will again raise questions over a culture of misogyny, predatory behaviour and poor professional standards in policing’. The watchdog reported that the spike in referrals was a ‘significant increase’ from previous weeks. Earlier this month a Dorset Police officer was dismissed following an IPOC investigation. Police Constable Sean Ford faced allegations of gross misconduct after being accused of entering into an inappropriate relationship with a woman he had met through his duties. He had met the woman to take a statement from her after she had reported an incident to police.
It was announced that Louise Casey is to lead an independent review into the Metropolitan Police’s culture and standards following Sarah Everard’s murder. Met police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said the move aimed to ‘make sure that the public have more confidence in us’.