Every police officer in the UK should be reviewed after Wayne Couzens’ conviction, a former chief superintendent of the Metropolitan Police has said.
Parm Sandhu told Sky News she had “real concerns” that more people “with questionable backgrounds” had been missed under current verification procedures.
She spoke after Couzens received an entire life order for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Sarah everard.
The 48-year-old Met officer abducted Ms Everard under the guise of arrest as she returned home from a friend’s house in south London on March 3.
The police watchdog is investigating five officers who claim they exchanged misogynistic, racist and homophobic material with Couzens over WhatsApp months before he killed Ms Everard, according to a Times report.
Ms Sandhu told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday that Couzens was a “monster in uniform,” but added: “Sadly, there is a culture where he has been allowed to flourish.
“And the WhatsApp group he was a part of, and other people are, is just a sign of that.”
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“Everyone who works in the police force now should be re-examined. Those people who went through the screening process 20 years ago, 30 years ago, all of them,” she said.
“Every person has to be examined and if something comes up in their past – it doesn’t have to be a condemnation, it just has to be noticed, because this man has noticed it.
“It needs to be done now as an urgent measure to reassure the public and restore the trust the police have lost, but it needs to be done on a regular basis so that we don’t have anyone even coming close to Wayne Couzens’ actions.”
She continued: ‘This man not only passed the check after indecency offenses in 2015, in 2018 he was taken to the Met – he was then given a gun to carry on the streets of London. , so that was another form of control. “
The police screening process
Every potential agent goes through a screening process as part of their application, which includes disclosing information about themselves, family and friends.
The checks – which take the form of both interviews and searches of local and national databases – will examine arrests, investigations, warnings, convictions, penalty notices, intelligence reports, traffic violations and earlier open source documents.
Convictions and warnings do not automatically prevent a person from joining the police, with age at the time, how long it has been committed and the nature of the offense considered.
Any warnings, investigations or convictions related to family members or friends must be declared.
Guidance from the College of Policing states: “When the matter has already come to the attention of the police – for example, has been arrested, is the subject of a criminal allegation or is under investigation – but that these questions have not resulted in a criminal conviction, a case-by-case assessment will be made.
The financial history of all applicants is also examined, as potential recruits must be able to handle existing loans, in order to avoid them becoming a target of blackmail.
The verification authorization can last from three to 10 years, depending on the role.
However, Del Babu, a former chief superintendent at the Met, told Sky News he doesn’t believe there is the infrastructure to review all officers.
He said: “The idea of having a full review of all individual officers is a huge task and I’m not quite sure that’s what’s needed.
“You have a continuous monitoring process throughout your service. “
However, he said there was a need to review the process that allowed Couzens to join the force.
Ms Everard’s case led to appeals to the Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick is going to resign in light of the erosion of confidence in strength.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former leader of the Conservative Party, told Sky News it was time for a “new broom” in the Metropolitan Police and said there were “issues of leadership and focus here “.
He added: “The idea that a man could portray himself as a cop… and people think it’s funny. I think that’s the thing that really failed. Why the hell wasn’t he. [Wayne Couzens] immediately reported, suspended at least pending a full investigation, or dismissed? “
It has also appeared since Couzens was deployed five times in the parliamentary domain last year.
The Speaker of the House of Commons is seeking urgent talks with Commissioner Dick following the revelation.
Ms. Sandhu said the only way to restore public confidence would be for everyone working in the police to be reviewed, and also called for an independent investigation.
“I think there are other people out there who have questionable backgrounds that should be looked at, not just at the Met but across the country, and I think we missed it,” she said.
Last year, Sky News revealed that hundreds of British police officers had received criminal convictions – including assault, burglary and cruelty to animals.
Ms. Sandhu continued, “Instead of looking back, we should look to the future and make sure these people are targeted now.”
This process should be repeated “on a regular basis,” she added.
It comes as Scottish police have introduced a “simple” verification check for isolated agents, to reassure the public that they are genuine.
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