A documentary exploring the “toxic culture” within the police – using Wayne Couzens’ murder of Sarah Everard in 2021 as a case study – is set to air on Channel 5 next week.
Wayne Couzens: Killer in Plain Sight will examine the former Deal-based Met officer – and the systematic failings within the police that led to the night in March 2021 when he abducted, raped and killed Ms Everard.
Put together by Flicker Productions, the work is the result of a year-long investigation, and hears from survivors of police sexual violence, and looks at whether women’s faith in policing can be restored.
Colleen Flynn, chief creative officer at the production company said: “We wanted to examine the breakdown in trust between women and the police as a result of the Wayne Couzens case, the repercussions of which are still being felt today.
“By giving a voice to women on-screen and off, our aim is to instigate real systemic change, by shining a light on a toxic culture that enabled serious wrongdoing.”
The documentary, put together by an all-female production team, also draws on interviews with former officers and those who personally knew Wayne Couzens.
On March 3 2021, Couzens lured Ms Everard in by using Covid laws to stop, handcuff and stage the fake arrest of the 33-year-old near Clapham Common in London.
He would go on to strangle her with his police belt - after spending hours lurking round the streets of central London looking for a victim.
Her body was found a week later in Great Chart, Ashford, a day after the married father-of-two was arrested by Kent Police.
He was sentenced to a whole-life sentence at the Old Bailey after pleading guilty.
The airing of the programme comes as more than 1,000 police officers are believed to be under investigation over cases of alleged domestic violence or sexual offences in the Met.
Last month, it was revealed that a fellow Met police officer missed the chance to arrest Couzens just hours before he went on to take Sarah Everard’s life.
PC Samantha Lee, who has since left the Met Police, had the opportunity to track down and arrest Couzens after he flashed a McDonald’s worker in Swanley back in February 2021 and was later found guilty of gross misconduct.
It later emerged that Kent Police also failed to arrest the Scotland Yard officer when he was reported for flashing a pedestrian back in 2015 – after the investigating officer accessed a file revealing that Couzens was a former special constable in the force.
A police watchdog report said a male officer did investigate a case of indecent exposure in Dover in June 2015 – but the case was closed.
Couzens' name was even broadcast as a suspected sex offender to all Kent Police officers via a radio channel but no further action was taken.
It was confirmed the sergeant who dismissed the case was stationed in Ashford when Couzens worked there as a special constable as well as knowing Couzens’ brother David – though the police watchdog accepted that the investigating officer otherwise had no known link to him.
The miss only came to light after the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched an investigation after the Sarah Everard murder.
Scotland Yard launched a hotline last November for complaints about rogue police officers with more than 1,000 people using it to report misconduct.