Yorkshire police officers 'sickened' by Sarah Everard's murder, says crime commissioner

Police officers are “sickened” at the horrific actions of Wayne Couzens, South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Alan Billings has said.

Dr Billings said: “What we have now learnt from the trial of Sarah Everard’s killer is absolutely chilling.

“We are thankful that the killer was very swiftly brought to justice and that the judge has sent him away for the rest of his life. This is absolutely the right sentence.

“But this trial also highlights the fact that the victims of these most serious crimes are not just the immediate victim but also their family and friends as well. Their lives are changed for ever.

South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Alan Billings

“I also know that police officers, both here in South Yorkshire and across the country, are sickened that someone who wore their uniform was capable of such a horrific act.

“However, this will have damaged the trust that some women will have in the police and we must recognise that and work hard to re-establish confidence.

“Over the last few years we have seen violence against women and girls, including in domestic settings, escalating and that is why I have put it as a priority in my Police and Crime Plan.

“I recognise that the police are working hard to improve their response to this violence and that there have been considerable improvements in recent years.

“But, I also recognise that much more needs to be done and that is why next month I will be hosting a round table event with police and other partners from across South Yorkshire and the criminal justice world.

“Here we will map what each organisation is doing, seek to understand how victims can be better supported and whether there are any gaps that need addressing.

“We will also consider where funding can be provided to support the voluntary sector who work to prevent violence or to support victims.

“I am determined that we will commit ourselves totally to bring about whatever improvements are needed.”

Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire and who has responsibility for the region’s police and crime commissioner office, said: “Overwhelmingly, my thoughts remain with Sarah’s family, loved ones, friends, and everyone affected by this truly horrifying incident.

“Although there is little comfort to those who miss Sarah dearly, the sentence handed down today at the very least, means this vile individual will never again be able to harm women in our communities.

“The terrible details of this case are deeply shocking and troubling. Trust in our police service is of the upmost importance and what we’ve heard during this hearing will have undoubtedly caused serious damage, which we must collectively rebuild.

“Sadly, this is not the only incident we have seen nationally where the safety of women and girls is in question and the death of Sabina Nessa in the capital is yet another reminder of why we must urgently address these issues.

“It is a subject which remains a core pledge in my manifesto and is extremely close to my heart, and that of my Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. We must do everything in our power, locally and nationally, to turn the tide against gender-based violence and improve safety.”