'Utterly appalled' - South Yorkshire Police Federation responds after full horror of Sarah Everard murder emerges
A South Yorkshire police representative has spoken of his horror at Sarah Everard’s murder by a serving police officer.
But Steve Kent, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, says he hopes the shocking killing will not stop people contacting the police when they are in need.
“All police officers up and down the country are utterly appalled at what has happened,” he said.
“This person’s actions utterly betray what our officers are here for, which is to protect and help people in society.
“What we worry about and don’t want to come from this is a reluctance for people who need us to contact or approach the police when they are in need.”
Wayne Couzens, 48, was this week handed a whole life order for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, meaning he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The court heard how he had used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to snatch Ms Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.
The firearms officer, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift at the American embassy that morning, drove to a secluded rural area near Dover in Kent, where he parked up and raped Ms Everard.
Ms Everard had been strangled with Couzens’ police issue belt by 2.30am the following morning.
Married Couzens then burned her body in a refrigerator in an area of woodland he owned near Ashford, before dumping the remains in a nearby pond.
Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, claimed the shocking crime showed ‘much more needs to be done’ to reduce violence against women’.
He said what happened ‘will have damaged the trust that some women will have in the police and we must recognise that and work hard to re-establish confidence’.
He announced that he would be hosting a roundtable event this month with police and their partners to discuss what different organisations are doing, how victims can be better supported and whether there are any gaps which need addressing.