Met to be quizzed as MPs call for ‘security review’ over Wayne Couzens’ Parliament work
3 October 2021, 07:21 | Updated: 3 October 2021, 08:00
MPs have called for a security review after it was revealed that the Met Police officer who killed Sarah Everard was on duty five times at Parliament last year.
Wayne Couzens was handed a whole-life sentence on Thursday for the kidnap, rape and murder of Ms Everard in March.
She was walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, when Couzens abused his powers to falsely arrest the marketing executive.
Now it has emerged that Couzens, a serving officer at the time of Ms Everard’s murder, was deployed to the Parliamentary Estate five times in 2020, with MPs calling for a security review by the Met Police.
The Parliamentary Estate includes the Palace of Westminster – the location of the House of Commons and House of Lords.
The Met Police had previously said Couzens moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February 2020 where his primary role was to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.
On Saturday, a Met Spokesman said: “Couzens was deployed to armed static protection duties on the Parliamentary Estate on five occasions from February to July 2020.”
According to the Sunday Times, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, said he was “extremely concerned” and would be seeking answers from Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.
He told the newspaper: “Like everyone, I have been sickened by the depravity of Wayne Couzens – and heartbroken for the family of Sarah Everard.
“I have asked the Met to meet me urgently to discuss how this person could have been deemed suitable for deployment here.
“Further, I will be seeking reassurance that at no time was anyone on the parliamentary estate put at risk.
“The security of members and staff has always been my number one priority, so I want to know how this man could ever have crossed the parliamentary threshold.”
Boris Johnson has said it is “infuriating” that cases involving violence against women and girls are not being taken seriously enough by police and take too long to process through the criminal justice system.
The Prime Minister also said too many women are “finding their lives lost to this system” while waiting and hoping for their cases to be taken seriously.
Mr Johnson insisted the public could and should still trust the police but work needed to be done to “fix” how the criminal justice system handled complaints of violence against women and girls.