The heinous murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer shook our country to the core. Society puts huge trust in the police to keep us safe and it is absolutely vital that everything possible is done to ensure this can never happen again. To rebuild the trust and confidence of women and girls in the police, there must be a comprehensive, independent inquiry on a statutory footing.
As you may know, a two-part inquiry has been announced by the Government to investigate issues raised by the conviction of Wayne Couzens, including his previous behaviour, any opportunities missed, and wider issues across the police. This inquiry is a non-statutory inquiry.
While it is of course correct that there is an urgent need to provide reassurance to the public, a non-statutory inquiry cannot act in the same way as a statutory one. It cannot compel witnesses to testify, it cannot demand documents, and the evidence it hears will not be under oath. I do not believe that is good enough.
It is clear that the whole system needs to be looked at: the vetting process, the misconduct process, working cultures, misogyny and sexism within the police and training processes. The Government has acknowledged that the inquiry can be converted to a statutory inquiry. I hope that Ministers will now reconsider the case to make this a statutory inquiry.
This could be a watershed moment, but it will require profound change. I can assure you I will continue to closely follow the Government’s action on this inquiry and on these issues more broadly.