CRESSIDA Dick today said “I’m so sorry” to Sarah Everard’s family as Britain’s embattled top copper faced a frenzy of calls to resign.
The Met Police commissioner is hanging by a thread after cold-blooded cop Wayne Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah on her watch.
She said Couzens – who will die in jail after being handed a whole life sentence today – “has brought shame” on the whole of Scotland Yard.
During the case it emerged that Couzens was known by other officers as “the rapist” and had previously been a flasher – prompting serious questions over how he was allowed to keep his job.
Speaking outside the court this afternoon Dick appeared to face down demands she quit, vowing to “keep working with others to improve women’s safety and reduce the fear of violence”.
She added: “There are no words that can express the fury and overwhelming sadness that we all feel about what happened to Sarah. I am so sorry.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “sickened” by the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, adding: “No woman should have to fear harassment or violence.”
But he stuck up for the nation’s police, saying they are “there to protect us” and insisted: “People must be able to walk on our streets without fear of harm and with full confidence that the police are there to keep them safe.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel weighed in this lunchtime too, saying it was right that the “monster” was given a whole life sentence.
She said there were “serious questions” for the Met Police to answer over the killing, but dodged questions on whether Dick should stay in post or quit.
Home Office sources stressed she was backing the under-fire chief.
But Britain’s longest serving female MP Harriet Harman demanded she go after “shattering” trust in the Met.
Following today’s ruling Ms Harman wrote to both Ms Dick and Home Secretary Ms Patel with a clarion call for urgent change.
She told the Met boss – who was in court for the sentence – : “Women need to be confident that the police are them to make them safe, not put them at risk.
“Women need to be able to trust the police, not fear them.”
The Labour MP added that Ms Dick was not the person to drive change and ordered her to fall on her sword.
Ms Harman also wrote to Ms Patel with a list of seven demands to “rebuild” trust in Scotland Yard.
Sarah’s horrific kidnap and murder should bring about tougher laws to protect women, Sir Keir Starmer has urged.
The Labour leader said the 33-year-old’s killing was “sickening” and that he’d work with Boris Johnson to stop another.
Ahead of the court ruling Sir Keir – once Britain’s top prosecutor – called on the Government to strengthen legislation.
He said: “We have got to change the law. We need a victims’ law. We have needed a victims’ law for years.
“We need better provision in relation to violence against women and girls in law. We have needed it for a very, very long time.
“If the Government were to put up legislation on violence against women and girls or on victims on the first Monday when we return after these party conferences, we will vote for it.”
Labour revealed a Victim’s Law in February which would give victims of persistent anti-social behaviour the same rights as victims of crimes.
A separate plan unveiled in the wake of Sarah’s killing would also toughen sentences for rapists and stalkers while creating offences for street sexual harassment.
In his party conference speech yesterday Sir Keir declared Labour the party of law and order.
The Government are pushing their own Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill through Parliament that would increase jail time for murderers and rapists.
🔵 Read our Wayne Couzens sentencing blog for the latest updates
Sir Keir also said the Met Police should investigate how their own officer Couzens managed to “slip through the net”.
He said: “I know that thousands upon thousands of police officers doing a fantastic job up and down the country are absolutely sickened by this, but obviously how on earth did he get through the net is the critical question that has now just got to be answered.”
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith also called for Scotland Yard to investigate.
He told Times Radio “My personal view is that the structures of the way that they [the Metropolitan Police] look at themselves when incidents happen, needs to change.”
Yesterday Sarah’s mum told the court how she “years” for her daughter in a powerful impact statement.
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