James O'Brien demands 'serious' advice for women following Sarah Everard trial

1 October 2021, 12:38

By Seán Hickey

Priti Patel, Boris Johnson and Cressida Dick must 'get front and centre' with 'serious, consistent advice' in the wake of the Wayne Couzens sentencing.

"It's not as if the police were taken by surprise by yesterday's events is it?

"It's not as if they didn't know the date and time upon which this sentence would be handed down and the attention of the entire nation would be turned to the question of how the hell Wayne Couzens was able to sustain a position from which he was able to commit such a foul and heinous crime."

James O'Brien was reflecting on the lack of consistent advice from authorities following the sentencing of Wayne Couzens for the murder of Sarah Everard.

Read more: Iain Dale: The 'buck stops' with Cressida Dick for Sarah Everard murder

"What question would have been first and foremost in your mind if you were Cressida Dick or any other senior member of the Metropolitan Police?" James wondered, suggesting that the Met Commissioner hasn't offered sufficient comment after former officer Couzens was handed down a life sentence.

Read more: 'When do we say this is enough?': Women's activist questions Cressida Dick's competence

Read more: Harriet Harman tells LBC why she wants Cressida Dick to resign

He went on to make a proposal to authorities: "We're going to have to get front and centre with serious, consistent advice to young women who find themselves – or are fearful of finding themselves – in a comparable situation."

James then went on to take aim at Policing Minister Kit Malthouse whose advice if a woman felt threatened by an alleged police officer was to phone 999, run away, get on a bus or hail a taxi.

Read more: Police probe into whether Wayne Couzens was behind more crimes as killer is jailed

"Do you think he's been working on that for a couple of months or did he wake up yesterday morning and scribbled it on the back of a fag packet?"

"Four messages there: Run away, phone 999, jump on a bus, hail a taxi. Incredible, I think, and maybe – just maybe – inevitable."

Read more: Policing Minister: Cressida Dick is 'the right person for the job'

A dejected James then noted that "when a country is in search of guidance, there isn't any."

"What should a woman do?" he wondered, highlighting an information vacuum from the top as key to the current issue.

"Who should be filling that vacuum? For my money, it should be the Home Secretary, the Prime Minister and or the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

"Chuck the Mayor of London into the mix as well. Somebody should be standing up and saying 'we have consulted with all relevant agencies and this is the official advice that should be followed."

He said such a unified and coherent approach to women's safety would "minimise the possibility of another despicable, corrupt police officer to commit a crime like this under cloak of his office."

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