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Wayne Couzens: Met Police faces questions over how cop nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ became armed officer

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Metropolitan Police has said it could not have stopped Wayne Couzens from murdering Sarah Everard as it pointed a finger at Kent for not properly investigating a 2015 report of indecent exposure linked to the officer’s car.

The killer cop, 48, was nicknamed The Rapist because of his inappropriate behaviour around women, had an obsession with ‘brutal porn’ and flashed McDonald’s workers before murdering Sarah Everard on March 3. 

But he still passed a vetting process that saw him put in charge of a gun as he stood guard at embassies in London. 

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is 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. 

Met Police today said ‘one of a range of checks’ when Couzens applied to join the force ‘may not have been undertaken correctly’.

Couzens’ car numberplate was linked to the 2015 indecent exposure but Met Police blamed the Kent force, claiming ‘Kent Police investigated this allegation and decided to take no further action. Our review found that the record of this allegation and outcome may not have been found during the vetting checks.’

It comes as a list of eight blunders that left Couzens free to kill were revealed.

Wayen Couzens (pictured), 48, was nicknamed The Rapist by colleagues and had an obsession with ‘brutal porn’ before committing the gruesome murder on March 3

Couzens has been linked to an incident three days before Miss Everard was kidnapped which saw two members of staff being flashed at a branch of McDonald’s in south London. 

The Met is being investigated by the IOPC for allegedly failing to probe these two separate incidents, despite apparently being provided with CCTV. Couzens was only identified as a suspect after Miss Everard’s murder. 

Questions have also been asked about how the Met Police’s vetting process failed to pick up concerns around Couzens before he was made an armed officer in its elite Diplomatic Protection Group, which involved him guarding embassies, VIPs and members of the Royal Family. 

Inappropriate Whatsapp messages and how Couzens got his head injuries: The ongoing investigations carried out by IOPC 

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has offered an update on investigations linked to Wayne Couzens’ gruesome murder. 

Sal Naseem said: ‘I would again wish to extend our deepest sympathies to Sarah Everard’s family and all those affected by her death.’

She said the watchdog could reveal other investigations – including into inappropriate graphics and discriminatory messages sent by police officers via Whatsapp:

An investigation into allegations that a probationary MPS police constable shared an inappropriate graphic, depicting violence against women, with colleagues via Whatsapp.

The graphic depicted the murder of Miss Everard by a serving police officer. Though the officer who sent the message was off-duty at the time he was later stationed at the crime scene cordon.

The force has not yet decided what action to take.

An investigation into the conduct of five officers from three forces and one former officer who allegedly sent discriminatory messages as part of a Whatsapp group between March and October 2019.

Three of the serving officers are with the MPS, one from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) and one from Norfolk Constabulary. Couzens was previously with the MPS.

They are being investigated for gross misconduct for allegedly sending messages of a discriminatory and/or inappropriate nature, and for allegedly failing to challenge the messages sent by the others.

Two of the MPS officers and the former MPS officer have also been notified that they are being criminally investigated for improper use of the public electronic communications network under Section 127 of the Communications Act.

An investigation into allegations that officers from several forces breached standards of professional behaviour when they used a messaging app to share information connected to the prosecution of Couzens.

One officer was investigated for gross misconduct because there was an indication they shared details presented in court from an interview given by Couzens under caution, when there was no policing purpose to do so. A further six officers were served with misconduct notices for not challenging the sharing of the information, and that two of them also joined in the conversation.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding how Couzens sustained head injuries in custody on and March 10 and 12 after he had been arrested on suspicion of murder. 

A police spokesman said: ‘Our inquiries, concluded last month (August), established that the injuries were self-inflicted. We found that correct policies and procedures were followed and we did not identify any conduct or learning issues for the MPS.’    

A McDonald’s worker today claimed Couzens exposed himself to her three weeks before killing Miss Everard as she was working at a drive-thru on the A20 near Swanley in Kent at the start of February. 

Couzens was allegedly nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ by colleagues in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary – where he was involved in protecting nuclear power stations – because of his inappropriate behaviour around women. 

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor said the nickname was known by some officers.

Sir Tom told the BBC Couzens ‘also had allegedly a reputation in terms of drug abuse, extreme pornography and other offences of this kind’. 

Couzens used to work at his father’s garage in Dover before joining the Kent Special Constabulary at some point after 2002. 

The court 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’. 

The court heard he used prostitutes and had a fake Match.com dating profile despite being married with two children and in 2018, it has been claimed he was reported to bosses for slapping a female police officer’s bottom at Bromley police station. It appears no action was taken, a source claimed.

While at Bromley, it is also alleged 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.’ 

The force admitted mistakes were made during Couzens’ vetting process.

A spokesman added: ‘Following his arrest, as the public would expect, we reviewed his vetting. This review confirmed he passed vetting processes. However, it also found one of a range of checks may not have been undertaken correctly. 

‘This check related to information regarding a vehicle which was registered to Couzens and that was linked to an allegation of indecent exposure in Kent in 2015. 

‘Kent Police investigated this allegation and decided to take no further action. Our review found that the record of this allegation and outcome may not have been found during the vetting checks. 

‘However, the review we conducted found that despite this there was no information available to the Met at the time that would have changed the vetting decision. We continue to build up a picture of Couzens’ career and wider activities. 

‘We would like to appeal for anyone who has information of concern about Couzens – whether police colleagues or members of the public – to contact us directly.’

A McDonald’s worker told MailOnline she saw Couzens pulling up by the order hatch with his trousers down. Met Police has not commented on this claim and the worker did not suggest the Met knew Couzens had done this and allowed him to carry on working.

The staff member – who said she recognised Couzens from the news coverage after he was identified as Miss Everard’s killer, told MailOnline: ‘The whole has thing left me quite disturbed. He casually pulled up to the serving hatch having ordered his food and I could clearly see that he was naked from below the waist.

‘It was not the first time that he had done this when he came to McDonald’s, but I was the only female member of staff to report it. I’m glad I took a stand and alerted the authorities because it was the right thing do. But I never imagined that he would go on to murder a woman, it’s tragic.’ 

The devout Christian said she reported the alleged incident to police. MailOnline has contacted the Met for comment. 

The Met is already being investigated by the police watchdog for its alleged failure to investigate two flashings later attributed to Couzens at a McDonald’s in south London three days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Miss Everard. 

Couzens has been linked to an incident three days before Miss Everard was kidnapped which saw two members of staff being flashed at a branch of McDonald's in south London (file image)

Couzens has been linked to an incident three days before Miss Everard was kidnapped which saw two members of staff being flashed at a branch of McDonald’s in south London (file image)

Couzens used his police ID to carry out a fake Covid arrest, cuffed the 33-year-old in his car and then strangled her using his police belt. 

He appeared to shake in the dock as he was handed a full life term at the Old Bailey this morning – 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. 

The McDonald’s worker allegedly targeted by Couzens in February said of the incident: ‘I believe that the police took action when I reported the matter at the time but I suppose the question is if it was appropriate enough?’ she asked.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Lord Justice Fulford sentencing Couzens at the Old Bailey in London

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Lord Justice Fulford sentencing Couzens at the Old Bailey in London

Sarah Everard's disappearance sparked a huge manhunt and led to an outpouring of anger about the safety of women on the streets

Sarah Everard’s disappearance sparked a huge manhunt and led to an outpouring of anger about the safety of women on the streets 

‘A process was underway, they were looking into it but perhaps they could have done more. I never thought it would escalate in the way that it did, and I don’t think the police did either.

‘I have not spoken about the incident at great length because I don’t want to take anything away from Sarah’s killing. At the end of the day the focus should be on her and her family and other women who have been killed by men.

‘I’m a devout Christian and people in my church have supported me. The whole thing was very disturbing. I no longer work at McDonald’s, I’m in a new job and have put the whole thing behind me. It is a closed chapter in my life and I’ve moved on.’

HOW DID COP NICKNAMED ‘THE RAPIST’ PASS VETTING FOR ELITE MET ARMED UNIT? 

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 involved him guarding embassies, VIPs and members of the Royal Family. There were numerous clues about Couzens’ bad character, including: 

  • Couzens used to work at his father’s garage in Dover before joining the Kent Special Constabulary at some point after 2002. The court 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 allegedly nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ by colleagues in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary – where he was involved in protecting nuclear power stations – because of his inappropriate behaviour around women;
  • He used prostitutes and had a fake Match.com dating profile despite being married with two children, his trial heard; 
  • 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 claimed;
  • While at Bromley, it is also alleged 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.’ 

 

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