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Sarah Everard: Met Police officer removed from duties after ‘inappropriate graphic’ shared during search operation

Written by on 16 March 2021

A probationary Metropolitan Police officer involved in the Sarah Everard search operation in Kent has been removed from their duties after allegedly sharing an “inappropriate graphic” with colleagues.

The force said a graphic was shared via social media on Friday and was reported by a number of officers “who were concerned by its content”.

The unnamed probationary police constable, who had been deployed as a cordon officer during the search operation in relation to Ms Everard’s murder, has now been placed in a non-public facing role while enquiries continue, according to the Met.

The matter has been referred to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which says it will investigate the officer’s conduct.

The Metropolitan Police said the matrix was created to highlight possible gaps in activity or intelligence Image: The matter has been referred by Scotland Yard to the police watchdog

The Met said the graphic does not contain photographic images, no images of Ms Everard, nor any other material obtained from or related to the investigation into her murder.

Ms Everard’s family has been made aware of the incident.

Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said: “The MPS expects its officers to behave professionally at all times and this includes how they use social media.

“I take allegations that any officer or officers have failed to observe these standards very seriously and have referred this matter to the IOPC.”

The IOPC will also investigate how serving police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, sustained serious injuries while being held in custody on suspicion of Ms Everard’s murder, after the matter was referred by the Met.

Couzens, who was charged with kidnap and murder last Friday, had head injuries on 10 March and 12 March and was treated in hospital both times.

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM HOME DESK  Image: The IOPC will also investigate how Wayne Couzens sustained serious injuries while being held in custody

The watchdog said a mandatory referral from the Met over the actions of police after they received a report Ms Everard was missing had been looked into.

It has now decided the matter was being returned to the force “to be handled in a reasonable and proportionate manner”.

The IOPC also said in relation to a statement from London mayor Sadiq Khan calling for it to investigate the actions of Met officers at a vigil for Ms Everard in Clapham Common on Saturday evening, “this type of investigation is not within our remit”.

However, the watchdog added: “We have discussed this further with Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) to consider how concerns might be included in work being undertaken by HMICFRS.”

Meanwhile, police officers investigating Ms Everard’s death have been combing a supermarket car park in Sandwich, Kent.

And specialist divers have been seen preparing to search part of the River Stour which runs through the town.

Ms Everard, 33, went missing while walking home from a friend’s house in south London on 3 March.

Human remains were found on 10 March in an area of woodland near Ashford, Kent, which were subsequently identified as Ms Everard’s.

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