ITV News Correspondent Martin Stew explores whether or not Couzen's previous behaviour could have triggered warnings that would have denied him the opportunity to kill Sarah Everard
Police are investigating whether Wayne Couzens could be responsible for more crimes, after it emerged his vehicles were linked to two earlier indecent exposure allegations. One of the allegations was just 72 hours before Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard. While he was not named as a suspect in the south London incident, a DVLA check on a car linked to it would have revealed him as the registered owner. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said the investigation into the indecent exposure had been “ongoing” at the time Couzens killed Ms Everard.
He said the Met had been referred to the police watchdog and a file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the alleged crime itself.
Del Babu, a Former Chief Superintendent at the Met, said: "We know that he had indecently exposed himself on at least two occasions. These were often trigger offences for more violent offences against women."
"I feel deeply, deeply ashamed that this individual was a member of an organisation that I was a member of.
"This is the Stephen Lawrence moment around gender issues and the violence there is against women."
'This is the Stephen Lawrence moment around gender issues,' Mr Babu said
Meanwhile, Mark Freestone, a Reader in Mental Health, said Couzen's behaviour indicated traits of toxic masculinity.
He added that some police colleagues viewed him "as somebody who had quite an entitled attitude towards sexual contact towards women".
Some fellow officers viewed Couzens as someone who had an 'entitled' attitude towards women, Mr Freestone said
The comments come after Couzens was sentenced to life behind bars on Friday.
Assistant Commissioner Ephgrave also admitted a check when Couzens transferred to the Metropolitan Police in 2018 was not done “correctly”. It did not flag up that a vehicle associated with Couzens had been identified in a Kent Police investigation into an indecent exposure in 2015.
Could the Met police have done more to prevent Couzens' actions? ITV News' Rebecca Barry explores
But he said that even if it had come up in the vetting process, it would not have changed the outcome. The senior Met officer was quizzed on whether the two incidents provided enough information to identify Couzens as a threat to women before he killed Ms Everard.
Meanwhile, Met police boss Dame Cressida Dick said Sarah Everard’s murder has brought “shame” on the force, admitting: “A precious form of trust has been damaged.”
Dame Cressida speaks of her horror of Couzens using his position of power to deceive Ms Everard
Dame Cressida was heckled by people calling for her resignation outside the Old Bailey on Thursday after Couzens was sentenced.She said: "This man has brought shame on the Met. Speaking frankly, as an organisation we have been rocked,” she said. “I absolutely know that there are those who feel that trust in us is shaken. I recognise that for some people, a precious form of trust has been damaged.”
In a statement, the Met Police responded to the finding that Couzens falsely arrested Ms Everard as a means of kidnapping her.
The organisation said it is unusual for a single plain clothes officer to engage with anyone, and that should this happen, the person who has been stopped should ask the officer "searching questions" and seek "independent verification".
In a statement, the force said: "Try to seek some independent verification of what they say, if they have a radio ask to hear the voice of the operator, even ask to speak through the radio to the operator to say who you are and for them to verify you are with a genuine officer, acting legitimately."
Alongside this advice, the force said it will deploy 650 new officers and increase patrols to do more to protect women and girls
The new strategy will accompany Predatory Offender Units which, since last November, have resulted in the arrests of more than 2,000 suspects for domestic abuse, sex offences, and child abuse.
The 650 new officers will be deployed into busy public places, “including those where women and girls often lack confidence that they are safe”, according to the force.
The Met have also promised to “step up” patrols and provide an increased police presence in areas identified as “hotspot” locations for violence and harassment.