Minister tells Lords she would have complied with Sarah Everard’s killer

Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said she would have complied with Sarah Everard’s killer, Wayne Couzens.

House of Lords
House of Lords

Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford admitted she would have complied with Sarah Everard’s killer, had she been stopped in the same way by the Met Police officer.

The Tory frontbencher was pressed by Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Hussein-Ece on the announcement made by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick last week, which will see officers out of uniform now having to video call station control rooms to confirm their identity when stopping women.

It comes after senior police figures were criticised for their reaction to the case in which a serving officer, Wayne Couzens, was jailed for life for staging a fake arrest before kidnapping and murdering Sarah Everard in March.

When Couzens’ sentence was handed down, Scotland Yard said people stopped by a lone plainclothes officer should challenge their legitimacy or run away and wave down a bus to escape.

Baroness Hussein-Ece insisted the new instruction given by the Met Police “would not have helped” Ms Everard.

CCTV of Wayne Couzens (right) and Sarah Everard beside a vehicle (Metropolitan Police/PA)
CCTV of Wayne Couzens (right) and Sarah Everard beside a vehicle (Metropolitan Police/PA)

She told the Lords: “Can she also say what Cressida Dick announced about these plain clothes police officers now will video call when they stop a lone woman, that they would have to video call into a police station to confirm, to do an identity check to say they are actually serving police offers, something called safe connection, how would that have helped in the case of Sarah Everard?

“Wayne Couzens was a serving police officer so that would not have helped.”

The Home Office minister said she had sympathy with her question, adding: “Because were I had been stopped by that killer, I would have complied.

“And I think that something that has got to be at the forefront and is at the forefront of the Home Secretary’s mind and must be on the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s mind is trust in police.”

She added: “The Noble Lady absolutely hits on the point where had the same thing be repeated in what the Metropolitan Police have suggested would have actually happened again.”

She concluded saying this will give the Met Police and the Home Office something to “reflect” on.

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