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PSNI and other institutions need to outline measures to prevent repeat of Sarah Everard case here, says Blair

The PSNI, along with other major institutions, need to outline the measures they are taking to prevent a repeat of the Sarah Everard case occurring here, Alliance Policing Board representative John Blair MLA has said.

Mr Blair was speaking after raising the matter in the Assembly this morning. Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens has been jailed for the kidnap, rape and murder of Ms Everard in London. The case has raised questions over trust in the police and criminal justice system, with Met Police in particular being asked regarding its failure to stop him.

“Like so many others, I was horrified and outraged a police officer abused his position of power and authority to abduct, rape and murder Sarah Everard. There is no doubt this case has had an impact beyond just London,” said Mr Blair.

“Wayne Couzens was previously subject to three separate allegations of indecent exposure and it is unequivocally apparent there have been fundamental failings of the Met Police and the Kent Police to properly investigate those allegations and failure of the vetting system.

“It is entirely unacceptable those who are responsible for enforcing the law and protecting the public to have such reprehensible disregard for their safety. I am pleased the PSNI have started the conversation including stakeholder engagement, which I have been pleased to be involved with. But we need to hear more from the police and others about what measures are in place to ensure we do not have a repeat case here.

“Misogyny is deeply rooted into our institutions. To end it, we need to face up to it – commission research, allocate resources and deploy funding to meet the challenges presented, and establish a society where women are safe.

“One life sentence for one man is not justice for the fear every woman has felt because of the clear failures in those who are meant to protect us all. That will not change until the threat of gender-based violence within our policing structures and elsewhere is removed.”