When it seemed this story couldn’t get any bleaker, the Metropolitan Police faces fresh cover-up claims after keeping secret a misconduct hearing into killer PC Wayne Couzens.
Couzens, 48, was dismissed from his job as a diplomatic protection officer after the hearing, which came a week after he pleaded guilty to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard in March this year.
Police misconduct hearings are usually held in public, with the media warned in advance.
But this time, no information was sent to the press. Rather, a press release was issued on Friday, July 16th at 5.30pm – after the case had been heard.
Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said the media were kept out because of the risk of “interfering with criminal proceedings” despite the fact Couzens had already pleaded guilty. Sections explaining AC Ball’s decision were redacted from the hearing’s published outcome. Details about “aggravating factors” relating to Couzens’ offences also seemed to have been removed.
The police watchdog is investigating the Met over how it investigated allegations Couzens indecently exposed himself three days before he abducted Sarah, 33, from a street in Clapham, South London, as she walked home.