Newham's mayor demands borough's streets be made safe for women and girls
Jon King & Press Association
- Credit: MPS
The mayor of Newham has demanded the borough's streets be made safe for women and girls.
Rokhsana Fiaz pledged to carry on holding the Met Police to account in Newham following the sentencing of former officer Wayne Couzens.
The 48-year-old kidnapped, raped and murdered marketing executive Sarah Everard, who went missing as she was walking to her home in Brixton on March 3.
Couzens was handed a whole life sentence at the Old Bailey on Thursday, September 30 by Lord Justice Fulford, who said his "warped, selfish and brutal" offences had eroded confidence in the police.
Ms Fiaz said: "Our hearts go out to Sarah Everard’s family, friends and everyone who loved her.
"[Couzens] deserves to die in prison for the monstrous acts he committed."
Describing violence against women and girls as being of "epidemic proportions", she called for a bill to make it an offence to harass women on the street and for tougher sentences.
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"My message to women in Newham is we will stand together in solidarity and action in this fight for justice, not just for Sarah, but for all women who have been murdered and those who have experienced violence at the hands of men," she said.
Ms Fiaz added there were "serious questions" for the Met to answer over how an officer could abuse his position in such a "heinous" way.
"In Newham we are demanding our police’s unrelenting focus in making our streets a safe place for all women," she said.
Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said Sarah’s kidnap, rape and murder was one of the most dreadful events in the 190-year history of the service.
"[Couzens] has brought shame on the Met. As an organisation, we have been rocked.
"I know there are those who feel their trust in us is shaken. I recognise that in some people a precious bond of trust has been damaged.
“Our dedication to our public remains undiminished. I will do everything in my power to ensure we learn any lessons."
In a statement, the Met described Couzens's crimes as "horrific", but acknowledged they are part of a "much bigger and troubling picture".
The service said the deaths of Nicole Smallman, Bibaa Henry and Sabina Nessa "bring into sharp focus" the need to do more.
It plans to deploy 650 more officers and to publish a strategy aimed at tackling violence against women and girls.
Vigils in memory of Sabina Nessa are due to be held in Central Park, East Ham at 6pm and Plashet Park at 7.15pm tonight (October 1).