BORIS JOHNSON has rejected calls for a public inquiry into police failings on sexual violence following the sentencing of Sarah Everard’s killer.
After Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti called for a Stephen Lawrence-style inquiry into a police culture of misogyny and violence against women, the Prime Minister told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today that other investigations should take place first.
The Metropolitan Police and the Independent Office for Police Conduct are looking into whether opportunities were missed to prevent Ms Everard’s murder by police officer Wayne Couzens, who received a whole-life sentence on Thursday.
Ms Everard was walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on March 3 when she was kidnapped by Mr Couzens, who used his warrant card to convince her to get into his car before raping and strangling her.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick has come under pressure to resign, after police chiefs reacted to the sentencing by telling women to flag down a bus if they had suspicions when stopped by a lone police officer.
Asked how women could trust the police, Mr Johnson insisted that it was “very very important that people should have confidence in the police.”
However, he acknowledged serious problems in the policing of sexual violence, blaming a failure of officers and prosecutors to “work together well enough.”
Only 2 per cent of reported rapes in England and Wales result in prosecution and rape convictions are at an all-time low, while many instances of sexual harassment are not fully investigated.
Labour shadow attorney general Lord Falconer said that Mr Johnson’s comments were “devoid of reality,” given that the Crown Prosecution Service had had its budget cut by about a third since the Tories came to power in 2010.
“If the [PM] is serious about ending the epidemic of violence against women and girls, he needs to finally commit to funding a criminal justice system so that it can work for everyone.
“Until then, we will continue to see women and girls being failed by this government.”
Reclaim These Streets co-founder Jamie Klingler told the Morning Star: “The suggestion that Boris is committed to prosecuting rape is laughable in light of his repeated decisions to defund the criminal justice system.
“Women who are assaulted by their partners today, even if their case reaches court, can expect a trial in two years’ time. That is directly because of decisions he has knowingly made.”