Announcements | Press Release

29 February 2024

Responding to the Angiolini Inquiry on the murder of Sarah Everard

Responding to Part 1 of the Angiolini Inquiry into the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by an off-duty officer of the Metropolitan Police, Amy Bowdrey, Policy and Public Affairs Officer at Refuge said:

“Refuge’s thoughts today are with Sarah and all the women killed by male violence and their grieving friends and family. The overwhelming message from the inquiry report today is that Sarah’s killer should never have been a police officer, a message that cannot be stated clearly enough but offers no support to women who have lost all trust and faith that the police will protect them.
Almost three years on from Sarah’s murder we are still talking about rooting out rogue officers in policing and Refuge has long been calling on the government to create fundamental change in policing. Today in response to this report the Government announced they will be automatically suspending police officers charged with criminal offences. This doesn’t go far enough, in any other safeguarding profession a criminal record would be a barrier to employment, Couzens was a known misogynist whose behaviour and crimes against women escalated to the point where he took a woman’s life – of course he was never fit to wear the uniform.

Refuge’s poll last month into women’s trust in the police stated 53% of women in England and Wales said that the police had made not much or no progress in addressing problems of sexism and misogyny among police officers over the last year. More than a third (39%) said they had not much or no trust in the police to handle the issue of violence against women and girls and a quarter (25%) said their trust in the police to handle violence against women and girls had gone down over the last year. More than half of women (59%) said that immediate suspension of officers accused of VAWG, as demanded by Refuge’s ‘Remove the Rot’ campaign, would increase their trust in the police. This is vital so that survivors of domestic abuse can report the crimes committed against them.

Refuge is calling on the government to act, our message is clear: suspend officers and staff in policing accused of any form of violence against women and girls pending quick and thorough investigation. Vetting standards are far too low and must be urgently pulled up to standard, there should be zero tolerance to misogyny within policing, the consequences for women and girls are far too high.”