MI5 feared for women staff working with male Met Police officers after Sarah Everard murder

MI5 feared for women staff working with male Met Police officers after Sarah Everard murder, counter-terrorism expert says

  • Counter-terrorism expert Lord Harris said MI5 was worried about female spies working closely with the Met after Wayne Couzens killed Sarah Everard
  • Officer said they were ‘taken aback’ when an MI5 employee raised the concerns
  • Independent inquiry underway into how Couzens passed the vetting process

MI5 feared for female staff working with police after Sarah Everard‘s murder, it has been claimed.

Counter-terrorism expert Lord [Toby] Harris said the Security Service was worried it may be ‘dangerous’ for female spies to work closely with Scotland Yard after one of its officers, Wayne Couzens, raped and killed the 33-year-old last year.

The chairman of the National Preparedness Commission made the revelation as he addressed the London Assembly’s police and crime committee on Wednesday.

He said that during a recent visit to the Counter Terrorism Operations Centre in west London – unveiled in June last year – a Met officer told him they were ‘taken aback’ when an MI5 employee said to them: ‘We’re quite worried about coming and joining you in this centre, we are worried about the safety of our female staff.’

Counter-terrorism expert Lord [Toby] Harris said the Security Service was worried it may be 'dangerous' for female spies to work closely with Scotland Yard after one of its officers, Wayne Couzens (pictured left), raped and killed Sarah Everard last year

Pictured: Sarah Everard

Counter-terrorism expert Lord [Toby] Harris said the Security Service was worried it may be ‘dangerous’ for female spies to work closely with Scotland Yard after one of its officers, Wayne Couzens (pictured left), raped and killed Sarah Everard (pictured right) last year

Lord Harris (pictured) made the revelation as he addressed the London Assembly's police and crime committee on Wednesday

Lord Harris (pictured) made the revelation as he addressed the London Assembly’s police and crime committee on Wednesday

Lord Harris explained: ‘I think that came as a bolt from the blue to this particular officer who just realised how shocking this would be to everyone else and how that was the perception.’

The peer, who has conducted two reviews into London’s readiness for a terror attack, made the shocking revelation when asked about problems of culture in the Met. 

There is an independent inquiry under way into vetting failures that allowed Couzens – who in July lost a bid to overturn his whole-life jail term for Miss Everard’s murder – to join the force as an elite firearms officer.

Last night a security source said: ‘MI5 and the police work together very closely and productively to keep the country safe’. 

A Metropolitan Police spokesman added: ‘The Commissioner has made clear the high standards he expects of all officers and staff across the Met and how we will be pro-active in tackling anything that falls below this.’

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