Sabina Ness murder: Top cop says ‘we won’t ask women to change their behaviour’

·3 min read
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe speaks to the media outside New Scotland Yard (PA)
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe speaks to the media outside New Scotland Yard (PA)

A top police officer has said the Met won’t ask women to change their behaviour after Sabina’s murder.

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, the national police lead for domestic abuse, gave an update into the investigation into the murder of primary school teacher on Friday.

In the wake of the murder, Ms Rolfe gave her reassurances the Met police were working incredibly hard to keep women safe.

She said: “I know the local authority have released some information for women about staying safe.

“It’s really important to us that we don’t ask women to change their behaviour. Violence against women and girls is a priority for police across the UK, but we’re really conscious that women should be free to go about their lives without fear of abuse.

“So we’re working incredibly hard, with partners and others, to ensure that we can keep people safe and to address both of those environmental factors.

“If you are concerned, or if you yourself are suffering from abuse, please do come forward to speak to police because we want to help you. But also if you know anything about this case, no matter how small, for Sabina’s family, please do come forward.”

The Assistant Commissioner has promised to “root out all abusers” from within the Metropolitan Police as campaigners gather to remember Ms Nessa - the latest victim in a string of violent murders of women on the capital’s streets.

Ms Rolfe is under pressure to get the police in order after Met officers were caught committing sex offences causing outraged campaigners to call for Cressida Dick to resign.

She told The Standard: “Let me be clear there is no place in the police for abusers.

“However, I absolutely understand that a small number of people are attracted to this profession for the wrong reasons. The same thing happens in education, in charities.

DI Neil Corbel (MPS)
DI Neil Corbel (MPS)

“We do everything we can to root this out. We need to be clear in our approach and work with independent chairs of misconduct hearings to ensure that they understand the impact of it in our ability to police.”

She added: “What I will say we have over 30,000 officers in the Met so 160 over quite a long period of time - every single one is one too many - but that is still a tiny proportion.

“The vast majority of officers join policing to do good and support victims and they are shocked and appalled when they hear of these cases.”

Sarah Everard was murdered by off-duty police officer Wayne Couzens near Clapham Common in March (Family handout/PA) (PA Media)
Sarah Everard was murdered by off-duty police officer Wayne Couzens near Clapham Common in March (Family handout/PA) (PA Media)

Reclaim The Streets charity have quoted a Freedom of Information request which showed 160 Met police officers were accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct from the start of 2019 until the end of 2020.

Earlier this month, Detective Inspector Neil Corbel, 40, pleaded guilty to 19 counts of voyeurism after being caught taking illicit naked videos of models with spy cameras hidden in his spectacles.

The serving Met officer pretended to be a pilot with a side-line in photography as he organised the nude shoots at luxury hotel rooms and flats he had rigged with hidden cameras. He is free on unconditional bail until his sentencing next month.

His conviction comes amid increased scrutiny of sexual offences and domestic abuse committed by serving police officers following the rape, kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard in March by Wayne Couzens, a firearms officer in the Metropolitan Police.

Anyone with information should call the incident room on 0208 721 4266 or Crimestoppers completely anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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