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Met Police investigate officers and staff accessing Sarah Everard case files

Written by on 17 May 2021

Officers and staff are being investigated for looking up details of the Sarah Everard case on the police computer system, the Metropolitan Police has said. 

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

Following an extensive police investigation, her body was found a week later in Kent.

PC Wayne Couzens, 48, from Kent, was charged with the kidnap and murder of the marketing executive and will appear at the Old Bailey for a plea hearing on 9 July.

A provisional date of 25 October has been listed for his trial.

And now the Met Police is set to question staff who accessed files related to the case.

“Officers and staff are only permitted to view specific records and data when there is a legitimate policing purpose for doing so,” the force said in a statement.

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“Accessing records without such a purpose can amount to a breach of professional standards or, in some cases, a criminal offence.

“Officers from the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards are in the process of contacting those officers and staff who accessed records relating to the investigation into the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard to ensure that each access was for a legitimate policing purpose.”

The force did not say how many officers and staff were being contacted or why the action was being taken.

In a separate investigation, the police watchdog is examining one officer linked to the case, after sharing a highly offensive graphic with colleagues.

The probationary constable was a cordon officer in Kent during searches and has been placed in a non-public facing role while the matter is investigated.

Police surround the band stand in Clapham Common, London, after the Reclaim These Streets vigil for Sarah Everard was officially cancelled. Image: The Met Police was criticised for its response to a vigil held in Ms Everard’s memory

In March, the force came under fire for its reaction and response to a vigil held at Clapham Common in Ms Everard’s memory.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer called the police response “deeply disturbing”, while Prime Minister Boris Johnsonsaid he was “deeply concerned” by footage of the events.

London mayor Sadiq Khan called police actions and arrests “neither appropriate nor proportionate” and Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey called for the force’s commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, to resign.