A police officer guarding the Sarah Everard murder scene allegedly sent inappropriate WhatsApp messages to colleagues about her killing.
A probationary Met police constable, who had been deployed as a cordon officer supporting the search operation in Kent, is said to have shared an ‘inappropriate graphic’ on social media with some colleagues.
Horrified fellow officers reported the PC’s actions because they were concerned by its content. The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards was made aware on Friday.
It is the latest incident in a series of shocking revelations of the Met Police’s handling of the disappearance and murder of Ms Everard and events surrounding Wayne Couzens who is charged with murdering her.
Couzens, a serving Metropolitan Police officer was charged with Ms Everard’s murder and kidnap after she disappeared as she walked home to Brixton from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on March 3.
The incident has now been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the officer has been removed from frontline duties.
He is believed to have been placed in a non-public facing role while enquiries continue.
In a statement, the Met Police confirmed the graphic did not contain photographic images, images of Sarah, or any other material obtained from or related to the investigation into Sarah’s murder.
Wayne Couzens (left) is presented with an award for his achievements during his time in the territorial army between 2002-2004. Couzens was charged with the murder and kidnap of Sarah Everard (right), who disappeared on March 3
Metropolitan Police officers have been in Sandwich, Kent, in recent days as the Sarah Everard investigation continues
A probationary Met police officer, who was deployed as a cordon officer supporting the search operation in Kent, allegedly sent an ‘inappropriate graphic’ on social media with some colleagues who later reported the PC. Pictured: Police presence in Great Chart, Kent, last week
The probationary PC has been removed from duties and placed in a non-public facing role while enquiries continue. Pictured: A Metropolitan Police van and a private ambulance at the scene of the woods near Ashford in Kent
Sarah’s family have been made aware of the incident.
Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave, said: ‘The Metropolitan Police Service expects its officers to behave professionally at all times and this includes how they use social media.
‘I take allegations that any officer or officers have failed to observe these standards very seriously and have referred this matter to the IOPC.’
It is the sixth referral of the Met to the IOPC regarding events surrounding the disappearance and murder of Ms Everard.
In August last year two eight Metropolitan Police officers were probed for misconduct after two constables were suspended for allegedly taking a selfie with the bodies of two sisters who had been murdered.
Nicole Smallman, 26, and her half-sister Bibaa Henry, 47, were found dead in Fryent Country Park in Wembley, north west London, in June – two days after they were reported missing.
Scotland Yard revealed two serving Metropolitan Police Constables were arrested on June 22 on suspicion of misconduct in a public office.
Wayne Couzens, a serving Metropolitan Police officer has been charged with Ms Everard’s murder and kidnap after she disappeared as she walked home to Brixton from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on March 3.
Met Police confirmed the graphic did not contain photographic images, images of Sarah, or any other material obtained from or related to the investigation into Sarah’s murder
Artist’s drawing of Wayne Couzens appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court on Saturday for his first appearance in court
Police divers search near Rope Walk in Sandwich, Kent, after a body found hidden in woodland at Ashford was identified as that of 33-year-old Sarah Everard
Bibaa Henry, 46, (left) and Nicole Smallman, 27, (right) were stabbed to death in a frenzied attack in Fryent Gardens, Wembley
The 48-year-old, from Deal, appeared in court to confirm his name and address during a short hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard Miss Everard’s body was found inside a builder’s bag in Kent and identified through the use of dental records.
Appearing in court wearing a grey tracksuit and bearing a red mark on his head, Couzens stood as the charges were put to him before being remanded in custody before his case is sent to the Old Bailey on March 16.
The Met Police revealed that Couzens joined the force two years ago in September 2018 when he worked for a response team covering the Bromley area.
He then moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February last year.
Following the discovery of Miss Everard’s body a vigil was set up in Clapham Common, south London, to remember the 33-year-old marketing executive.
People have gathered for a third night in Parliament Square to Protest violence against women following chaotic scenes on Clapham Common during a picture for Ms Everard
Justifying the police’s response to the vigil, Dame Cressida Dick said: ‘We’re still in a pandemic, unlawful gatherings are unlawful gatherings’. Thousands protested across London yesterday
Demonstrators say the right to protest ‘protects women,’ ahead of a controversial bill that will be debated by MPs tonight
People visited the bandstand on Clapham Common, London, on Saturday to look at the floral tributes and candles
Crowds of mourners started chanting ‘arrest your own’ and ‘shame on you’ as scenes quickly turned violent in Clapham on Saturday. Pictured: A woman being arrested
One attendee claimed that, when confronted about elbowing a girl, the officer ‘smirked’ and said ‘that’s a shame innit’. Pictured: Police at the scene
Groups of people attended throughout the day on Saturday, including the Duchess of Cambridge.
Later that night a crowd of around 1,500 people gathered but scuffles broke out as police surrounded a bandstand covered in flowers left in tribute.
Officers have been blasted for using heavy-handed tactics which critics dubbed ‘quasi military’.
Horrifying footage taken on the night shows a row of mask-wearing police officers yelling ‘move back’ as they shove protesters away.
Other clips showed demonstrators being hauled off by officers as chilling screams ring out through the crowd.
Movement Reclaim These Streets had organised the vigil before being forced to cancel following consultation with the Metropolitan Police, which said it would be in breach in coronavirus restrictions.
Today protestors headed to Parliament Square for a third night of demonstrations over violence against women and the Met’s handling of the vigil. The crowd started with around 200 people attending, but numbers quickly grew to around 800.
After gathering outside New Scotland Yard, the protesters headed to Parliament Square where they staged a minute-long lie-in protest
People holding hundreds of placards moved to stage a sit down on Westminster Bridge, with police officers present limiting their interaction.
Facing the House of Commons today, Home Secretary Priti Patel told MPs that the scenes of officers manhandling women from the scene on Clapham Common in South London had been ‘upsetting’, and the murder had ‘rightly ignited anger’ about male violence.
But she also defended the police’s efforts during the pandemic and highlighted the death toll from coronavirus as she urged the public to stay off the streets in large groups.
Her comments came after Boris Johnson said he has full confidence in Met chief Cressida Dick as she faces a huge backlash for defending the police operation on Saturday night.
Boris Johnson, pictured on a visit to the National Express depot in Coventry today, said he has full confidence in Met chief Cressida Dick
Called to Westminster to answer an Urgent Question about the Ms Patel told MPs: ‘Over the past year during the coronavirus pandemic, the police have been faced with an unenviable and immediately difficult task. It is one for the most part that they have approached with skill and professionalism, helping to enforce regulations as determined by Parliament with one crucial objective in mind, to save lives.
‘This House approved those changes by 524 votes to 16 on January 6 this year. Sadly, as of Sunday March 14, more than 125,500 lives have been lost to this horrible virus.
‘It is for that reason that I continue to urge everyone for as long as these regulations are in place not to participate in large gatherings or attend protests.
‘The right to protest is the cornerstone of our democracy, but the Government’s duty remains to prevent more lives being lost during this pandemic.’
Striking a more personal tone, she also said women and girls must feel safe whilst walking on the street.
‘Accounts shared online in the wake of Sarah’s disappearance are so powerful because every single one of us can relate to them,’ she said.
‘Too many of us have walked home from school or work alone only to hear footsteps uncomfortably close behind us. Too many of us have pretended to be on the phone to a friend to scare someone off.
The disappearance of Sarah Everard and the arrest of armed policeman Wayne Couzens
March 3: Sarah disappeared after leaving friend’s home Clapham around 9pm. She leaves out of her friend’s back gate and speaks to her boyfriend on the phone for 15 minutes.
March 5: Sarah’s family share missing posters of her after they become increasingly concerned that she is still not home, spreading the word online with links to the Missing People charity.
March 6: Met Police release an appeal, saying Sarah was thought to have walked through Clapham Common, heading towards Brixton home, a journey of 50 minutes. They say they are not certain she ever arrived home.
March 7: Police release footage of Ms Everard and say she was walking alone on A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill when she was last seen on CCTV, which has not been released to the police.
March 8: Specialist officers are drafted and 120 calls from public come in. A door-to-door operation sees police speak to 750 families.
March 9: Police search gardens near Ms Everard’s route and nearby Oaklands Estate.
Officers also search a pond in Clapham Common and drains along the A205.
Cordon around the Poynders Court housing complex on Poynders Road, forensics officers on scene.
11.59pm: Met police officer Wayne Couzens arrested in Kent on suspicion of kidnap. A woman in her 30s is arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Neighbours say they spotted a Land Rover containing two men watching the property for two hours before around 20 officers raided the house.
March 10: Specialist police search team arrives in Kent. They search Couzens’ home and garden as well as nearby Betteshanger Park which is around two-and-a-half- miles from the house as well as an abandoned leisure complex in Great Chart near Ashford.
8pm: Dame Cressida Dick confirms human remains were found in woodland in Ashford, Kent in the search for Sarah. She was unable to confirm whether the remains belonged to the missing woman.
March 11: 10am: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was ‘shocked and deeply saddened by the developments in the Sarah Everard investigation’, adding ‘we must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime’.
Home Secretary Priti Patel added: ‘Every woman should feel safe to walk on our streets without fear of harassment or violence. At this deeply sad and tragic time as we think and pray for Sarah and her family’.
4pm: Police later confirm the suspect was treated in hospital for a head injury sustained while in custody, before being returned to a police station.
Ms Everard’s family release a statement paying tribute to her as a ‘shining example to us all’, adding that she ‘brought so much joy to our lives’.
The Met reveals an extension to the suspect’s detention was granted by a magistrates’ court, while the woman arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender is released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April.
6pm: Organisers of a vigil for Ms Everard say they are seeking legal action against the Met after claiming the force reversed its position on allowing the event planned for March 13 to go ahead.
March 12: Searches ramp up in the tunnels carved into the White Cliffs of Dover that run around and below Couzens’ former family garage.
Teams remain at Couzens’ home in Deal and in woodland near Ashford where human remains were found.
2pm: Scotland Yard confirms the body found in Kent woodland is Sarah. Her family have been informed.
9pm: Wayne Couzens is charged with the murder and kidnapping of Miss Everard.