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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Commons Speaker wants Met Police to explain Wayne Couzens’ Parliament work


The Speaker of the House of Commons has asked for an urgent meeting with the Met Police after it was confirmed that Wayne Couzens was on duty five times at parliament last year.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle called it “extremely concerning” and questioned police vetting policy.

Couzens was on armed protection duty at parliament between February and July 2020, according to the Met.

Couzens was given a whole-life sentence on Thursday for Sarah Everard’s murder.

Couzens, a serving Met police officer at the time, kidnapped the 33-year-old while she was walking from a friend’s house in March under the guise of an arrest.

Sir Lindsay said in a statement that he had requested a meeting with police to discuss how Couzens, 48, was deemed fit for deployment to the parliamentary estate.

“The safety of members and staff has always been my top priority,” Sir Lindsay said.

The House of Commons and the House of Lords are both part of the parliamentary estate.

Couzens was transferred to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February 2020, where his primary role was to patrol diplomatic premises, primarily embassies, according to the Met Police.

However, a spokesman for the force said on Saturday that he was assigned to armed static protection duties on the estate five times between February and July 2020.

The Metropolitan Police is under fire for failing to apprehend Couzens, with calls for Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to resign and an investigation into police misogyny.

Couzens is thought to have been in a WhatsApp group with five police officers who are currently being investigated for gross misconduct.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct previously stated that he was linked to a flashing incident in 2015 and another two days before killing Ms Everard.

Couzens tricked Ms Everard into being handcuffed with his police warrant card, then drove her to Kent and raped and murdered her. In a premeditated attack on a random victim, he later burned her remains.

In light of “understandable public concern” over what happened to Ms Everard, Police Scotland are introducing a new verification check for lone officers.

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