Boris Johnson says the British can trust the police following the conviction of officer Wayne Couzens for the murder of Sarah Everard and said hiring more female officers “can make the most fundamental change”.
Couzens was sentenced to a full life term after admitting the kidnap, rape and murder of the 33-year-old in March.
“I think there will be hundreds of thousands of police officers, let alone myself, up and down the country who will be absolutely heart sick by the appalling murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer,” Mr Johnson said.
“We’ve got to get to the bottom of what happened with Wayne Couzens. We make sure nothing like the happens again,” he added.
The PM said: “I want to make it clear that I do believe in the police, I do think that we can trust the police and I think the police do a wonderful, wonderful job.”
Amid furious criticism of the Met Police in its vetting of Couzens, and its advice to women following his sentencing, the PM said he still has confidence in the force.
He admitted, however, that there is a problem with how cases of rape and violence against women are handled.
What issues does the Prime Minister think need to be addressed in policing?
Mr Johnson believes changes need to be made in order to improve rape convictions rates in Britain.
“There is a problem in the way we handle rape, domestic violence, sexual violence and the away we handle complaints of women and girls,” Mr Johnson said.
“The problem is we have too few prosecutions for rape and too few successful convictions. We’ve got to fix it.”
“But what we’re doing is now not just putting more, a lot more money into safer streets, into CCTV… but recruiting more female police officers. And I think that can make the most fundamental change of all.”
‘Why could such a dangerous man serve as a police officer?’ Yvette Cooper says more needs to be done to vet police officers
It comes as Labour MP Yvette Cooper called on the government to launch an inquiry, similar to the one carried out into Harold Shipman’s murders, into the police following Couzens’ conviction.
“The government need to recognise how serious this is,” Ms Cooper told ITV News.
“After the awful Shipman murders there was a proper independent inquiry that looked at how a dangerous man had managed to work as a GP for so long and abused that position of trust.
“We’ve got no sign of anything similar this time to look at a serious of how a dangerous man in the police service for so many years and what needs to change in terms of culture, systems and policies.
“They’ve got to learn from the past and make sure they have an independent inquiry now.”
Others have spoken out about a culture shift needed within policing.
Former Chief Constable Sue Fish outlines what needs to be addressed to tackle misogyny in policing
Former Chief Constable at Nottinghamshire Police Sue Fish told ITV News “the cultural challenges are absolutely there around misogyny throughout policing.”
She continued: “It’s definitely not just one bad apple, there are plenty of police officers who are fantastic, but the pervasive culture – and how that then manifests in terms of police officers abusing their partners, abusing their colleagues, and taking advantage and sexually abusing women – are commonplace. That’s what needs to be addressed.”
The policing minister said earlier on Friday that there is a “massive question mark” hanging over the Metropolitan Police following the murder of Ms Everard by a serving officer.
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But on Friday Kit Malthouse insisted force boss Cressida Dick is the best person to restore the UK’s trust in police.
Following Couzens’ whole life sentence, the Met said it will no longer deploy plain clothes officers on their own after the Old Bailey heard Couzens had used lockdown rules and shown his warrant card to falsely arrest Ms Everard during the abduction.