Following today’s (Friday 9 July) guilty plea at the Old Bailey by Metropolitan Police Service Police Constable Wayne Couzens, who admitted murdering Sarah Everard, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has issued an update on its linked conduct investigations.
IPOC have served a total of 12 gross misconduct or misconduct notices on police officers from several forces as we continue to investigate matters linked to the conduct of PC Couzens.
One of our investigations has examined the circumstances surrounding how PC Couzens sustained head injuries in custody on 10 and 12 March after he had been arrested on suspicion of the murder of Sarah Everard. This investigation is nearing its conclusion and all officers involved have been treated as witnesses.
Other ongoing investigations are:
An investigation into alleged MPS failures to investigate two allegations of indecent exposure linked to PC Couzens in London in February 2021. Two officers are being investigated for possible breaches of professional standards at misconduct level.
An investigation into alleged Kent Police failures to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to PC Couzens in Kent in 2015. No notices have been served.
An investigation into allegations that a probationary MPS police constable shared an inappropriate graphic with colleagues via social media. The officer subsequently manned a cordon at the scene of the search for Ms Everard. Three officers have been served with gross misconduct notices.
An investigation into allegations that officers from a number of forces breached standards of professional behaviour while sharing information linked to the prosecution of PC Couzens via a messaging app. One officer has been served with a gross misconduct notice and another six have received misconduct notices.
The serving of misconduct notices does not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow.
IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “Our sympathies remain with the family of Sarah Everard and everyone affected by her death in such shocking circumstances.
“We share the horror that many will feel, knowing that Sarah’s killer was a police officer who had taken an oath to uphold the law and protect life and property. The offences Wayne Couzens has admitted add up to the worst betrayal of the public’s trust.
“We are still investigating a number of matters linked to PC Couzens and Sarah’s death, and we are working hard to bring those to as swift a conclusion as possible.”
A total of nine other conduct referrals in relation to PC Couzens were made to us by the MPS which, following assessment, were sent back for local investigation by the force. Two of these were in relation to the kidnap, murder and rape of Sarah Everard and another concerned allegations of indecent exposure. As these matters are subject to investigation by the MPS it would be inappropriate for us to provide further details.