Ex Met Police chief Cressida Dick 'downplayed Sarah Everard murder'

 

Ex Met Police chief Dame Cressida Dick is accused of trying to downplay murder of Sarah Everard at high-level government meeting ‘by telling ministers response was “over the top”‘

  • Nimco Ali was a government advisor on tackling violence against women
  • She alleges Dame Cressida Dick told government things were ‘out of proportion’
  • Sarah Everard, 33, was murdered by serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens 
  • The former Met Police chief denies ever making the comments alleged by Ms Ali 

Former Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has been accused of downplaying the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer and not giving ‘a s**t’ about women. 

The Government’s outgoing adviser on tackling violence against women and girls has accused the former Metropolitan Police boss telling government it was going ‘over the top’ in response to Sarah’s case.

Nimco Ali, a campaigner and survivor of female genital mutilation (FGM), alleged that at a high-level meeting chaired by then-prime minister Boris Johnson and several senior ministers shortly after the murder in March 2021, the commissioner complained the Government’s initial response was ‘over the top’.

Recounting the meeting to The Sunday Times, Ms Ali said Dame Cressida told the prime minster: ‘This has been blown out of proportion.’

Nimco Ali, a campaigner and survivor of female genital mutilation (FGM), alleged that at a high-level meeting Dame Cressida called the government’s reaction ‘over the top’

Cressida Dick denies making the comments, saying she fought for women and girls throughout her career at the Met

Mr Johnson, then-Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and then-justice secretary Robert Buckland were taking the issue ‘seriously’ and ‘actually validated’ the fear women were feeling about the kidnapping, rape and murder of the 33-year-old Londoner, Ms Ali said.

Sarah Everard was kidnapped off the street before being raped and murdered by serving officer Wayne Couzens, who used his actual warrant card and police handcuffs to convince her she was under arrest. 

A court heard he took advantage of covid lockdown rules as the 33-year-old marketing executive was walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham.

He was later found guilty and became the first person to receive a whole life order, meaning he will die in prison, for a single murder. 

The outgoing adviser Ms Ali added that the Prime Minister responded to Dame Cressida by saying: ‘A woman has literally just been lifted off the street. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen every day, it’s happened.’

Sarah Everard, 33, was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving Met Police officer in March 2021

Wayne Couzens was a serving police officer who was nicknamed ‘the rapist’ by colleagues at the time of Sarah’s death

Ms Ali said: ‘I will never forgive Cressida for that flippancy. For her it was all about her officers. I don’t think at any point she ever gave a s**t about women.’

The former commissioner has strenuously denied making the comments alleged by Ms Ali, telling the Sunday Times: ‘I did not make those comments and it is not language I would ever use.

‘I entirely supported every effort the Government was making at that time, giving advice and taking action in the Met. 

‘Throughout my service I sought to reduce violence against women and girls.’

According to the newspaper, which reached out to ‘a number of ministers who were present’ at the meeting, they did not deny the ‘substance’ of Ms Ali’s account.

Ms Ali, who resigned from her role on Friday in response to Suella Braverman’s ‘crazy rhetoric’ about migrants, was appointed the adviser on tackling violence against women in 2020 and was a close friend to Mr Johnson and his wife.

Dame Cressida was forced to resign as police commissioner in February following a backlash against the Met over its handling of the Everard murder and subsequent revelations about widespread misogyny and misconduct by officers.

After Sarah’s death, Dame Cressida and the Met as a whole were fiercely criticised for its handling of a vigil held in Clapham Common, to which hundreds of women turned out.

Metropolitan Police officers, of the same force to which Couzens belonged, began arresting women present at the vigil and have maintained prosecutions against ome of those arrested despite the courts finding the force’s behaviour was unlawful. 

It later came to light that Couzens was nicknamed ‘the rapist’ by colleagues.

It was just one of a string of horrific examples of sexism, homophobia and racism which has been exposed within the force in recent months.

Recently two Metropolitan Police officers have been jailed for sending grossly offensive messages in a WhatsApp group with killer PC Wayne Couzens.

Jonathon Cobban, 35, and former PC Joel Borders, 46, were each jailed for 12 weeks at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today.

Both were members of a group chat called ‘Bottle and Stoppers’ on the encrypted platform with Couzens, 49.

The court heard how they joked about raping a female colleague, talked about tasering children and displayed racist and homophobic views.

New Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley told MPs this week the force employs ‘hundreds’ of people, among them dangerous criminals and proven misogynists.

He said he would personally sack them if he could, adding: ‘We have police officers who have gained serious criminal convictions whilst being police officers that we can’t sack. 

‘We’re having to put restrictions on them to reduce the damage they can do as leaders or in terms of serving the public.

‘The final word for removing a police officer doesn’t sit with me. It sits with independent tribunals who I’d say don’t have the same interest in the quality of policing in London as I do.’

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