Twelve officers investigated over matters relating to Sarah Everard’s murderer Wayne Couzens

ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry on the allegations of indecent exposure linked to Wayne Couzens, asking if there were missed opportunities to stop him

Twelve police officers are being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct over matters relating to the case of Sarah Everard’s murderer Wayne Couzens, the watchdog has said.

The IOPC said it had served 12 officers from several forces with gross misconduct or misconduct notices with multiple investigations ongoing.

One gross misconduct notice and six misconduct notices relate to a probe into allegations officers from “a number of forces” breached standards of professional behaviour by sharing information linked to the prosecution of Couzens via a messaging app.

Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to murder. Credit: Metropolitan Police

Gross misconduct notices have been served to three officers over an investigation into a probationary Met Police constable who allegedly shared an inappropriate graphic relating to the Sarah Everard case with officers over social media before subsequently manning the cordon at the scene of the search for her.

A probe into the Metropolitan Police’s alleged failure to investigate allegations of indecent exposure linked to Couzens in February 2021 continues with two officers being investigated for possible breaches of professional standards that may amount to misconduct.

A separate investigation is also ongoing into claims Kent Police failed to investigate an incident of indecent exposure in 2015, but no notices have been served by the IOPC to officers over this.

An investigation into how Wayne Couzens sustained head injuries while in custody on both March 10 and March 12 following his arrest has almost concluded, the IOPC said, with all officers involved treated as witnesses.

The IOPC said the serving of misconduct notices does not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow.

Earlier on Friday, Couzens pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to the murder of Sarah Everard.

The Metropolitan Police officer kidnapped Ms Everard in a hire car as she walked home alone from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.

The sexual predator, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift that morning, went on to rape and strangle the 33-year-old marketing executive.

Her body was found a week later in woodland in Ashford, Kent.