Published On: 1 March 2024Tags: , ,

Lady Eilish Angiolini yesterday (29th February 2024) published the findings of her independent inquiry into the serious crimes of Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens. She has found a series of shocking failings to prevent this serial sex offender from harming women and girls.

Part 1 of the inquiry found:

  • Wayne Couzens should never have been a police officer, but red flags were ignored. Despite a report of indecent exposure in 2015, he continued as an authorised firearms officer.
  • There were missed opportunities to stop him: evidence of violent pornography preference and reports of sexual offending existed 20 years prior to Sarah Everard’s murder.
  • His crimes were part of a pattern of sexually motivated behaviour, including indecent exposure, sexual abuse of a child, unwanted touching, and possession of indecent images.
  • Police lacked training and motivation to address violence against women. Victims were not taken seriously, leading to missed opportunities to prevent further offending.
  • Investigations into indecent exposure were poorly conducted due to apathy, disinterest, and inadequate steps to identify the perpetrator.
  • Failures in vetting missed red flags in Couzens’ history of sexual offending and personal debt.
  • A culture of misogyny in policing and society enables atrocious crimes to go undetected, with sexist behaviour seen as ‘banter’.
  • More diligent adherence to vetting guidance, improved information-sharing, and thorough investigation of prior offences could have prevented his crimes.
  • Part 2 of the inquiry will address broader issues regarding policing and the protection of women, including cultural factors within the police force.

The inquiry made a series of recommendations, including:

  • Every force should commit to being anti-sexist, anti-misogynist and anti-racist, and to address, understand and eradicate sexism, misogyny and racism. This includes rooting out ‘banter’ that veils toxic behaviour. 
  • All police forces should have a specialist policy on investigating all sexual offences, including indecent exposure. This includes improving training and guidance, a review to improve how it is treated within the criminal justice system, research into the links between this form of offending and subsequent contact offending, a public information campaign, and a review of reports against serving police officers. 
  • Greater scrutiny and accountability of police officers via vetting, information-sharing, and well resourced recourse for women officers and staff to report inappropriate behaviours (and for them to be properly investigated). 


The Foundation believes that the findings of the Angiolini Inquiry are a direct consequence of Baroness Casey’s independent report on the culture of the Met Police, which was issued a year ago. The report exposed shameful details, including appalling breaches of trust and the failure of the Met to adequately safeguard Londoners. The Met Police and the government must address the deeply ingrained culture that enabled such misconduct and has previously been identified as institutionally racist, sexist, and homophobic. Radical reform is imperative. We must intensify efforts to combat violence against women and girls, and advocate for the social changes necessary to ensure the safety and equality of everyone in society.

We, as part of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, call on the government to action the inquiry’s recommendations, but it must commit to investing in prevention. This should include long-term public information campaigns to shift the tide of harmful social attitudes which often underpin violence against women and girls, and embolden those who wish to do harm. It should also include research to better understand patterns of offending.

Police officers hold a particular position of power and authority over the public and as such must be held to the very highest standards of accountability and public scrutiny. Expert women’s organisations have long set out recommendations for tackling police-perpetrated violence against women and girls – it’s time for the government to listen.