Iain Duncan Smith Calls for Met Chief Cressida Dick to Resign over Sarah Everard Murder

Sarah Everard
London Metropolitan Police

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has called for Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign after serving officer Wayne Couzens raped and murdered Sarah Everard, with the leading MP questioning how a police officer caught exposing himself was allowed to hold a position of authority.

Mr Duncan Smith has become the most senior political figure to date to add to calls for the resignation of Dick after PC Couzens was sentenced to a whole life term for the abduction, rape, and murder of Miss Everard. During the sentencing hearing, it was revealed that the officer had abused his authority to conduct a fake arrest of the 33-year-old woman while claiming to be enforcing coronavirus lockdown laws, before abducting her.

The Home Office had appointed Dick as Britain’s most senior police officer in 2017, the first woman to hold the position, despite controversies surrounding her leadership of the operation that resulted in the fatal shooting of the innocent man, Jean Charles de Menezes, whom officers mistook for an Islamist suicide bomber in 2005. Dick’s tenure was extended until 2024 last month.

Asked whether he thought Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel were right to stand by Dick after the findings of the Couzens trial, Mr Duncan Smith told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “There are issues here about leadership and focus.

“I think the Met has got to have someone in charge, now, that understands the dynamic of what they do and how it works best, and that people can rely on them to be both forceful, when necessary, but also helpful and can be trusted.

“I think that’s the bit that has got to be resolved. And it may require that she steps down and that somebody else is able to take over. Because I think it is time, now, for a new bloom, as it were.”

Sir Iain also criticised the handling of the years of Extinction Rebellion protests, which have been costly to police, and the “issues around the recent female murders” — likely referring to the several killings of women in the capital in the past 18 months, such as that of Miss Everard and those of sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman.

Further claims had since emerged about the behaviour of Couzens — who was known by his former co-workers at the  Civil Nuclear Constabulary as “the rapist”, because of how uncomfortable he had made female colleagues — including that he was suspected of multiple instances of indecent exposure, but police forces had missed chances to identify the 48-year-old as the suspect.

Noting the allegations, Mr Duncan Smith said: “When a man who is a police officer is caught flashing, what in the hell’s name is he doing holding a police badge?

“He should have been suspended on the first occasion, and I don’t understand how that man was on the street and thus able to murder Sarah Everard.”

Couzens had a high-profile career, having been an armed protection officer in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection team at the time he kidnapped and murdered Miss Everard. On Sunday it was revealed that Couzens had been deployed to the Houses of Parliament five times last year.

In a letter seen by Guido Fawkes, Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle confirmed that Couzens had limited access to the Palace of Westminster and had never been issued a parliamentary pass.

“However, the news that Couzens was deployed as an armed officer on the Parliamentary estate is extremely concerning and raises a number of questions about police vetting procedures,” Sir Lindsay wrote.

Continuing: “To that end, I have asked the Metropolitan Police 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.”

The Sunday Mirror reported that following a Freedom of Information request, it had learnt that 26 Metropolitan police colleagues of Couzens had committed sex crimes in the past five years, including rape and the possession of indecent images of children.

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