‘How do you change that?’ Sky host puts Sadiq Khan on spot on policing failure

Sadiq Khan grilled over systematic failures in policing

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An independent inquiry will be launched into the “systematic failures” that allowed Sarah Everard’s killer to be employed as a police officer, the Home Secretary has announced. Speaking at the Conservative Party conference, Priti Patel said the public needs answers to ensure “something like this can never happen again” after Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens kidnapped, raped, and murdered the 33-year-old marketing executive. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was asked by Sky: “In a few months when we hope this inquiry will end and we discover that women don’t feel safe in the police force and don’t feel they’re able to report upwards. What happens then?”

Mr Khan said: “We’ll make changes. We’ve got to make sure no stone is left unturned in relation to making the police a service that is free from racism.”

Ms Secker interjected: “But how do you change it?

“How do you change something as huge as the police force and the mentality of the people working within it?”

The Mayor continued: “First we’ve got to ascertain the facts to Sarah’s awful murder but in relation to missed opportunities.

“Then we’ve got to make sure all those are addressed with urgent implementation made.

“Then in relation to wider practices in the police service, we’ve got to see what the inquiry uncovers in relation to practices across the country.”

The Home Office said the inquiry will be made up of two parts – first examining Couzens’ previous behaviour and establishing a “definitive account of his conduct leading up to his conviction, as well as any opportunities missed, drawing on the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s (IOPC) investigations, once concluded.”

The second will look at any specific problems raised by the first part of the inquiry, which could include wider issues across policing – such as vetting practices, professional standards and discipline, and workplace behaviour.

Priti Patel responds to the conviction of Wayne Couzens

Labour’s Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Commons Home Affairs committee, said the inquiry was “very welcome” and it was “important that it looks more widely at the handling of allegations of violence against women and girls by police officers and staff.”

But the plans came under fire from shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson initially dodged calls to back a public inquiry.

He said: “Labour has been calling for a full independent inquiry for days, yet the Prime Minister refused to support one. Now the Home Secretary has half-heartedly announced one, but not put it on a robust, statutory footing to ensure there are no barriers in the way to getting answers.”

The Home Office said a non-statutory inquiry will be established, given the “need to provide assurance as swiftly as possible”, but this can be converted to a statutory inquiry, where witnesses can be compelled to give evidence if required.

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Mr Thomas-Symonds also called for urgent legal reforms so action on violence against women and girls is not “delayed” pending the outcome of the inquiry.

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, supported the inquiry but added: “We cannot and are not waiting for the findings of this inquiry to begin rebuilding women’s trust that police officers will protect and respect them.”

Ms Patel will also commission another inspection of vetting and anti-corruption procedures in policing in England and Wales to be carried out by the watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

This will also look at how forces detect and deal with “misogynistic and predatory behaviour”.

Initial findings are expected by the end of this year in order to inform the inquiry.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is launching a task force led by the Home Secretary to see action taken across Government to tackle violence against women and girls, which will meet for the first time in the autumn.

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