Sarah Everard killing: five police officers facing disciplinaries over social media posts about Wayne Couzens

Five police officers from four different forces are facing disciplinary action

Five police officers from four different forces are facing disciplinary action over messages shared on social media about Sarah Everard’s killer.

Two officers from the Metropolitan Police and one from each of the forces in Sussex, Dorset and Avon and Somerset will be subject to misconduct proceedings, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said.

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At a glance: 5 key point

  • A Met Police constable on probation, who went on to staff a cordon as part of the search for Ms Everard, was investigated over allegations they used WhatsApp “to share with colleagues an inappropriate graphic, depicting violence against women” while off-duty.
  • Another Pc still on probation had a case to answer for “allegedly sharing the graphic and failing to challenge it” and will also be subject to a misconduct meeting.
  • An officer from Dorset Police, who was on secondment from the force, will face a gross misconduct hearing after being accused of posting details of the interview Couzens gave under caution – several months before the killer admitted to her murder and before the information could be made public.
  • The investigation indicated officers from other forces had “joined in the conversation, endorsing comments made by others and making unprofessional remarks about Couzens”, the watchdog added. As a result, an officer from Avon and Somerset Constabulary will face a misconduct meeting.
  • Another officer, who was on secondment from the Sussex force, will also “undergo the reflective practice review process in respect of one of the messages that had been sent and the tone of conversation” after it was found misconduct was “not proven” at a meeting.

Background

Investigations are continuing into the conduct of five officers from three forces and one former officer over allegations they sent “discriminatory messages” over WhatsApp between March and October 2019 after the information was recovered from an old mobile phone found during the police probe into Ms Everard’s murder.

The IOPC is also still looking into how Kent Police in 2015, and the Met this year, handled allegations of indecent exposure which have been linked to Couzens.

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