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MPs call for ‘security review’ after it emerges Sarah Everard’s killer was deployed to Parliamentary Estate

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The police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard was deployed to the Parliamentary Estate five times on several occasions last year.

Wayne Couzens, who was jailed for life last week, abducted Ms Everard, 33, as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on 3 March.

The Old Bailey heard that he had used his position to convince Ms Everard that she was being arrested for breaching COVID lockdown rules.

'Each day dawns and I think, Sarah should be here, leading her life and embracing new experiences,' her mother Susan Everard says
Image: Sarah Everard was a 33-year-old marketing executive who was walking home when she was abducted

It has since been revealed that he had also been linked to a flashing incident in 2015 and another one just days before he killed Ms Everard.

Couzens moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February 2020, mostly guarding diplomatic premises, such as embassies.

On Saturday, a Met Police spokesman said he was deployed to armed static protection duties on the Parliamentary Estate five times between February and July 2020.

The estate includes the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

More on Sarah Everard

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told The Sunday Times: “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.”

Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who felt unable to attend her own party’s conference last month after receiving threats and abuse online, also told the newspaper: “It’s chilling that someone whose nickname was ‘the Rapist’ was guarding MPs, when we are told that we are protected by a ring of steel.

“Knowing now that we had a murderer in our midst, I’m sure all women working in parliament will want to see a thorough security review.”

It comes after Police Scotland announced a new verification check that will help lone officers prove they are genuine when they speak to members of the public.

But there has been criticism of the standard of vetting for police officers from those who point out that Couzens was not pretending to be a police officer when he kidnapped Ms Everard – he was one.

The Sunday Mirror reported that 26 Met Police officers have committed sex crimes – including rape and possessing indecent images of children – since 2016.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “infuriating” that cases of violence against women and girls were not being taken seriously enough by police.

Mr Johnson told The Times that the public could and should still trust the police but work was needed to “fix” how the criminal justice system handled such cases.

Are women safe on our streets?

Are women safe on our streets?

The murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Metropolitan Police officer has resulted in an outpouring of concern over women’s safety in the UK.

We would like you to share your experiences, and your questions for our panel of experts. We’d also love to hear your solutions.

Email thegreatdebate@sky.uk to get involved.