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Public trust in UK police even lower year after Sarah Everard murder

Bianca Rahimi

Press TV, London

Over the past 12 months, 125 women have been killed by men in the UK, the youngest being 16. Most were attacked by someone they knew, like current or former partners, and died in their own homes. This challenges the notion that the streets are the most dangerous place for women. But it was on the street in March 2021, that Sarah Everard was kidnapped.

This is where Sarah went missing last year near Clapham Common bandstand. Two to three women are killed each week here in the UK, but Sarah’s murder made headline news for weeks, sending shockwaves across the country, because the man that kidnapped raped and murdered her, was a serving Met police officer.

His nickname was “the rapist” among his colleagues. A day before the murder there were complaints made against him for indecent exposure. And now some of his former colleagues are under investigation for engaging in sexually and racially charged banter with Couzens over Whatsapp. He is now serving a life sentence.

The Met said it was ashamed and disgusted that one of its own was responsible for Sarah’s death, but the toxic culture within force was common knowledge. Caught on the hop, number 10 tried to appease the public after Sarah’s murder, pledging to spend millions of pounds on better lighting, CCTV and sending plainclothes officers into pubs and clubs. But do women feel safer? After all Sarah was snatched by a police officer, and other women have come forward saying they were seduced and sexually exploited by men in uniform.

On the anniversary of her murder, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said his thoughts were with Sarah’s family. Police officers in half of the UK's forces are now being investigated for using their powers for sexual gain. Since Sarah’s murder, a string of controversies have further undermined public confidence in the Met and its former Commissioner Cressida Dick has resigned. Meanwhile, women on the UK’s streets remain hyper-vigilant.

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