Nearly 40% of Britons think under-fire Met chief Cressida Dick should quit over handling of Sarah Everard case, survey reveals
- Cressida Dick has faced calls for her to resign as the Metropolitan Police chief
- She is under fire for missing chances to identify Wayne Couzens as a predator
- Couzens raped and murdered Sarah Everard in March after a fake Covid arrest
- A YouGov poll revealed 38% of Britons are supporting calls for her resignation
Nearly 40 per cent of all Britons think under-fire Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick should resign just days into her new term over her handling of the Sarah Everard case, a survey has revealed.
Cressida Dick, 60, has faced a wave of calls for her to step down amid anger at the multiple missed chances to identify officer Wayne Couzens as a sexual predator.
And a YouGov poll has revealed that 38 per cent of Britons are supporting the calls for her resignation, compared to a mere 27 per cent who think she should remain in her post.
Some 35 per cent of Britons are unsure about whether the commissioner should step down, as Dame Cressida has been left fighting for her job just days into her new term.
It comes after Dame Cressida said ‘sorry’ as she ordered a shake-up of police rules which will see plain clothed officers banned from working alone after Couzens flashed his police ID to carry out a fake Covid arrest and cuff Sarah Everard, before strangling her with his police belt.
A YouGov poll has revealed that 38 per cent of Britons are supporting the calls for Cressida Dick’s (pictured) resignation as the Metropolitan Police chief
The YouGov survey found that two in five men and 32 per cent of women think Dame Cressida should resign just days into her new term
The commissioner has faced widespread calls to step down, including from the senior Labour MP Harriet Harman, and the survey found that two in five men and 32 per cent of women think Dame Cressida should resign.
In London, where Sarah Everard, 33, was raped and murdered by Couzens on March 3 while she was walking home from a friend’s house, a staggering 40 per cent of people think she should step down.
In the rest of the South, 39 per cent of people think she should resign, while 38 per cent of people in the North and 35 per cent of people in Scotland agree.
Just 10 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 were among those who thought Dame Cressida should stay in her role, with 31 per cent thought she should resign and 59 per cent were unsure.
The age group with the highest amount of people calling for the commissioner to resign was those 65+, with a massive 46 per cent supporting the calls for her to step down.
The poll comes after Dame Cressida apologised and said Couzens had ‘brought shame on the Met’, adding that she was ‘absolutely horrified’ at the atrocity.
The commissioner said she recognised ‘the precious bond of trust has been damaged’ – as the force announced it will not deploy plain clothes police officers on their own in an effort to reassure the public.
Dame Cressida said: ‘As Commissioner I will do everything in my power to ensure we learn any lessons. I know that what happened to Sarah, and what has happened to other women in London and beyond in recent times, has raised important questions about women’s safety.
Dame Cressida, 60, has faced a wave of calls for her to step down amid anger at the multiple missed chances to identify officer Wayne Couzens (pictured) as a sexual predator
‘Here in the Met I commit to keep working with others to improve women’s safety and reduce the fear of violence. There are no words that can express the fury and overwhelming sadness that we all feel about what happened to Sarah. I am so sorry.’
Meanwhile, Priti Patel today said the Met Police had ‘serious questions’ to answer over the case – but stood by Cressida Dick following calls for her to resign amid fury at how the officer was able to ‘slip the net’.
The Home Secretary said Britain’s biggest force should be ‘held to account’ but batted away a question about whether she should now step down.
She said: ‘I think first of all there are important questions and questions that I’ve been asking and challenges, we have to be honest about this, in particular to this case, but also the conduct of that serving officer and conduct of policing more broadly.
‘So, I will continue to work with the Metropolitan Police and the Commissioner to hold them to account as everybody would expect me to do, and I will continue to do that.’
The Met is being investigated by the police watchdog for its alleged failure to investigate two flashings which have since been linked to Couzens at a McDonald’s in Swanley, Kent. The force received reports of these three days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Miss Everard.
There are also questions how the sexual deviant, 48, passed vetting to become an armed parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer despite numerous rumours of his bad character, including claims he was addicted to violent pornography and had mistreated women.
Couzens was handed a full life term at the Old Bailey – as activists with ‘Met Police: Blood on their hands’ banners protested outside. Lord Justice Fulford said he was a ‘warped’ and ‘self-pitying’ killer who used his position and knowledge of Covid-19 lockdown laws to carry out one of the most shocking crimes in recent history.
Harriet Harman demanded scandal-ravaged Dame Cressida step down over the Met’s failure to stop Couzens, tweeting: ‘Sarah Everard was simply walking home. Women must be able to trust the police not fear them. Women’s confidence in police will have been shattered. Urgent action needed. Met Commissioner must resign.’
Diane Abbott said: ‘Harriet Harman is right. Women should be able to trust the police. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick must resign.’
The Met Police commissioner (pictured) has faced widespread calls to step down, including from the senior Labour MP Harriet Harman, following the Sarah Everard case
Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, has also called on Dame Cressida to go.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Starmer told LBC: ‘There were obviously warning signs, so how did he get through get the net? That is the crucial question that the Met must now answer.’
The comments that heap fresh pressure on Dame Cressida after a raft of scandals, from the disastrous Operation Midland probe into fantasy claims of VIP paedophiles to claims of a ‘cover-up’ over the murder of private detective Daniel Morgan and allegations of excessive force at a vigil for Miss Everard.
Couzens – who is being temporarily held at HMP Belmarsh and will die behind bars – has been linked to reports the Met received on February 28 that two members of staff were flashed at a McDonald’s in Swanley. This happened three days before Miss Everard was murdered. Both incidents happened at the same branch on the same day.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IOPC) is investigating the Met for allegedly failing to probe these two incidents, despite apparently being provided with CCTV. He was not identified as a suspect at the time.
The IOPC is also looking into Kent Police – where Couzens used to work as a volunteer – after it was accused of not investigating reports in 2015 that a man had been spotted driving down a road with no trousers on.
The Met is also facing questions about how its vetting process failed to pick up concerns around Couzens before he was made an armed officer in its elite Diplomatic Protection Group, which saw him guarding embassies, VIPs and members of the Royal Family.
Couzens used to work at his father’s garage in Dover before joining the Kent Special Constabulary at some point after 2002. The Old Bailey heard a colleague in that year spoke of ‘his attraction to brutal sexual pornography’ but Jim Sturman QC, defending, said it related to a single incident ‘which is almost impossible to examine now’;
He was allegedly nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ by colleagues in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary – where he was involved in protecting nuclear power stations – because he behaved inappropriately around women. However, a Met spokesman today said this claim had been investigated and there was no evidence it was true.
His trial heard that he used prostitutes, had a fake Match.com dating profile despite being married with two children.
In London, where Sarah Everard (pictured) was raped and murdered by Couzens on March 3 while she was walking home, 40 per cent of people think Dame Cressida should step down
In 2018, it has been claimed that he was reported to bosses for slapping a female police officer’s bottom at Bromley police station but it appears no action was taken, a source told The Sun.
While at Bromley, it is also claimed he became the subject of gossip for only stopping female motorists – before taking their details so he could watch their homes – and parking outside schools to leer at mothers and sixth formers.
The Met said: ‘Couzens was a serving and vetted police officer when he joined the Met. He had no criminal convictions or cautions and he was not subject to any misconduct proceedings during his time at the MPS. We are aware of no other concerns raised by his colleagues or anyone regarding his behaviour.’
There has been widespread anger over the failure of police to hold Couzens to account for his sick behaviour before he went on to abduct, rape and murder Miss Everard.
Patsy Stevenson, a women’s rights campaigner who was famously arrested at the vigil for Miss Everard on Clapham Common, called on Dame Cressida to resign
She told Sky News: ‘There’s a complete lack of accountability within the police. I’m disappointed in Cressida Dick. I don’t know how she can still have the job when so many things have happened.
‘Why was he allowed to remain a police officer when he indecently exposed himself a few days before? I’m shocked she got a two year contract extension.’
The scandal heaps more pressure on Dame Cressida, who this month had her contract at Met commissioner extended by two months despite a huge outcry.
The officer has been at the centre of a series of scandals before and after being appointed as the Met’s first female commissioner in 2017.
In July 2005, she was in overall charge of the operation which saw electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, shot dead on a Tube train in south London.
Couzens was handed a full life term at the Old Bailey – as activists (pictured on September 29) with ‘Met Police: Blood on their hands’ banners protested outside
Mr de Menezes, a Brazilian working in the capital, was blasted in the head seven times by police at Stockwell station after being followed by officers from his home nearby.
In 2014, Dame Cressida sanctioned the creation of Operation Midland – the Met’s investigation into spurious VIP child sex abuse allegations.
Innocent men, including the late Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, were pursued by the force.
The Met’s star witness ‘Nick’ was later revealed to be serial liar Carl Beech.
In 2017, Dame Cressida was criticised for her choice of words after she said the victims of the London Bridge terror attack demonstrated London’s ‘diversity’.
The officer added: ‘We believe, of course, that that’s what makes our city so great. It’s a place where the vast majority of time it’s incredibly integrated and that diversity gives us strength.’
Critics said the remarks were ill-considered.
In 2019, the Met under Dame Cressida’s leadership was widely criticised for its ‘light-touch’ policing of Extinction Rebellion protests.
The environmental demonstrators were allowed to blockade key areas of the capital for days, including Westminster Bridge and Oxford Circus.
In total a dozen officers from across the constabularies are under investigation by the IOPC over offences related to the Couzens case.
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