Ex-Metropolitan Police boss accused of trying to downplay Sarah Everard murder
The Government’s outgoing adviser on tackling violence against women has accused former Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick of trying to minimise the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens.
Nimco Ali, a campaigner and survivor of female genital mutilation (FGM), alleged that at a high-level meeting chaired by then-prime minister Boris Johnson and several senior ministers shortly after the murder in March 2021, the commissioner complained the Government’s initial response was “over the top”.
Recounting the meeting to The Sunday Times, Ms Ali said Dame Cressida told the prime minster: “This has been blown out of proportion.”
Mr Johnson, then-Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and then-justice secretary Robert Buckland were taking the issue “seriously” and “actually validated” the fear women were feeling about the kidnapping, rape and murder of the 33-year-old Londoner, Ms Ali said.
The outgoing adviser added that the prime minister responded to Dame Cressida by saying: “A woman has literally just been lifted off the street. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen every day, it’s happened.”
Ms Ali said: “I will never forgive Cressida for that flippancy. For her it was all about her officers. I don’t think at any point she ever gave a shit about women.”
The former commissioner has strenuously denied making the comments alleged by Ms Ali, telling the Sunday Times: “I did not make those comments and it is not language I would ever use.
“I entirely supported every effort the Government was making at that time, giving advice and taking action in the Met. Throughout my service I sought to reduce violence against women and girls.”
According to the newspaper, which reached out to “a number of ministers who were present” at the meeting, they did not deny the “substance” of Ms Ali’s account.
Ms Ali, who resigned from her role on Friday in response to Suella Braverman’s “crazy rhetoric” about migrants, was appointed the adviser on tackling violence against women in 2020 and was a close friend to Mr Johnson and his wife.
Dame Cressida was forced to resign as police commissioner in February following a backlash against the Met over its handling of the Everard murder and subsequent revelations about widespread misogyny and misconduct by officers.
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