An independent inquiry into how an off-duty Metropolitan police officer was able to abduct, rape and murder a member of the public. This is to ensure the victim’s family and public get a full explanation of the causes of, and factors contributing to, this tragic and harrowing murder.


The abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard was a horrendous crime and has had a devastating impact on her family and loved ones. That it was committed by an off-duty Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens, abusing his position to do so, is abhorrent and risks undermining the public’s confidence in policing.

Terms of Reference

Part 1 of the inquiry will establish:

  • an overall timeline of Couzens’ career and relevant incidents, including allegations of criminal behaviour and/or misconduct
  • the circumstances and decision-making relating to his vetting and re-vetting, including whether any potential risks and/or red flags were missed
  • any other relevant matters arising from his transfers between forces
  • his overall conduct – including non-disciplinary matters, his performance and training
  • the extent to which any issues relating to his behaviour, particularly in relation to women, were known and raised by colleagues, (including professional standards and senior leaders)
  • any abuse of his police powers

The inquiry will seek to establish these through methods including, but not limited to:

  • analysis of documentation from relevant forces, including the Metropolitan Police Service, Civil Nuclear Constabulary and Kent Police
  • interviews and witness statements
  • findings from the relevant Independent Office for Police Conduct investigations

This inquiry has been established as a non-statutory inquiry but if necessary, the Home Secretary may agree to convert into a statutory inquiry, following advice from the Chair.

Last updated 26/03/24