Sarah Everard killer cop Wayne Couzens joined the Met Police when a ‘THIRD of officers were not properly vetted’
- Head of watchdog said 37% of the Met’s staff in 2018-19 did not proper vetting
- Sir Tom Winsor told MPs that killer cop Wayne Couzens joined force at this time
- He said he was ‘quite confident’ police will take vetting more seriously in future
Wayne Couzens joined the Met Police at a time when a third of its officers were not properly vetted, the police watchdog said
Killer cop Wayne Couzens joined the Metropolitan Police at a time when a third of officers were not properly vetted, the head of the police watchdog has said.
Couzens was a serving Met police officer when he kidnapped, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard and has since been jailed for the rest of his life.
Speaking to the Commons home affairs committee Sir Tom Winsor said that that 37 per cent of the Met’s staff in 2018-19 did not have up-to-date security vetting.
The Chief Inspector of Constabulary told the committee that he believed Couzens joined the Met at this time, in September 2018, according to the Telegraph.
The report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found that 33 per cent of officers, 72 per cent of police community support officers and 45 per cent of staff had also not been properly vetted.
In total, 14,616 members of the Met weren’t checked properly during that period.
In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick resisted calls to resign after it was revealed Couzens was known as the Rapist at other forces and had a reputation for ‘drug abuse and extreme pornography’.
Sir Tom said he was ‘quite confident’ police will take vetting more seriously after the crimes committed by Couzens, after it emerged he had previously been accused of sex offences that were not properly investigated.
‘I think the Couzens case, horrific as it is, of course, will have intensified the determination of the police to ensure that another Couzens doesn’t get in,’ Sir Tom said.
In the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder, Met boss Dame Cressida Dick resisted calls to resign after it was revealed Couzens had a reputation for ‘drug abuse and extreme pornography’
‘These officers are already on our streets, cutting crime and keeping our communities safe.’
Sir Tom Winsor and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary are conducting two inquiries on behalf of the Home Secretary in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard.
One will look at the Met’s processes for hiring staff, including vetting, and the second will examine how the force deals with corruption.
It comes as Sir Tom also warned that the fast-paced police recruitment programme risks allowing the wrong people – including criminals – into jobs as PCs.
He suggested that police could be infiltrated by organised crime gangs who would even seek to be promoted to senior ranks.
He told the committee: ‘The police uplift programme of 20,000 extra officer officers is going great guns – they are ahead by some margin of their target of six or seven thousand a year.
Sarah Everard, 32, was kidnapped, raped and murdered by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens
‘But going that fast carries risk. If you’re going that fast in recruitment, there is a danger that the wrong people will get in.
‘Organised crime groups, for example, do plan to infiltrate the police. And of course some of them may aspire to higher and higher ranks.’
He added: ‘The other concern… is that when police officers are going through their probationary period if they are displaying attitudes which are incompatible with the office of constable the police need to be much more assiduous in recognising that and throwing them out.
‘Because otherwise if they don’t, they’re storing up what could be a 20 or 30 year problem.
‘What kind of attitudes? A fondness for violence or fondness for the exercise of power over your fellow citizens, misogyny, racism, homophobia, a lack of maturity and judgement.’
Regulations allow forces to remove unsuitable recruits but they are ‘not good enough at doing that’, he added.
A slew of claims have come to light about Couzens since he was jailed for his life with no chance of parole after he kidnapped, raped and murdered Miss Everard
‘They may be tempted to say we’ll knock those rough edges off him or her because otherwise he looks like he’s going to be a good police officer. That’s not a good idea.’
Sir Tom also referred to earlier reports he has conducted into huge gaps in police vetting procedures.
In the wake of the shocking rape and murder of Sarah Everard by serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens in March, the watchdog said he had found tens of thousands of improperly vetted officers in the police in a report carried out in 2018 and 2019.
‘We are now going back and looking at the vetting standards now. We will report in 2022 on that.’
Earlier this week, it was confirmed Couzens is seeking permission to appeal against his whole-life term for kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard.
Handing down a whole-life sentence at the Old Bailey last month, Lord Justice Fulford said Couzens, 48, who had pleaded guilty to kidnap, rape and murder, ‘used his position as a police officer’ to kidnap Miss Everard in Clapham.
But in the latest twist, a court official said on Tuesday: ‘We have been notified that an appeal has been lodged by Mr Couzens,’ The Mirror reported. If permission is granted, the case will be heard by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.
Couzens is one of over 60 criminals serving whole-life sentences. They are reserved for the most serious crimes such as serial killings and politically motivated murders.
Lord Justice Fulford said by misusing his police role to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah, his crime was ‘of equal seriousness as a murder carried out for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause’.
Couzens joins infamous killers such as British soldier Lee Rigby’s murderer Michael Adebolajo, police officer killer Dale Cregan and Mark Bridger, who murdered five-year-old April Jones.
Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley also got whole-life orders. Serial killer Levi Bellfield is unique in being given two.
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