A police officer looks on as demonstrators gather during a protest in Parliament Square in London, Sunday, March 14, 2021. London's Metropolitan Police force was under heavy pressure to explain its actions during a vigil for Sarah Everard whom one of the force's own officers murdered. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

A year after PC Wayne Couzens illegally arrested, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, six police officers in the Met police are under investigation for abusing their powers for sexual gain.

A freedom of Information request to the IOPC (the police watchdog for England and Wales), revealed that at the end of January this year 21 forces out of 43 had officers under investigation for such abuse of power, according to Sky News. These forces included the Metropolitan Police and Devon and Cornwall.

There were 29 investigations into allegations of sexual assault and harassment, and 32 of domestic abuse. The biggest category of complaint was over officers’ use of force, of which there were 81 allegations being investigated. The FOI found that abuse of powers for sexual gain is now the biggest corruption issue the IOPC has to deal with. Two years ago it accounted for 60% of all IOPC corruption investigations.

The tragedy of Sarah Everard was a watershed moment for recognising the extent of gender-based violence and public sexual harassment faced by women from men (and those in positions of authority). However, the results from this latest investigation still leave huge cause for concern.

Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy said yesterday: “Evidence has consistently been revealed to show a deeply misogynistic culture within the Metropolitan Police… Women need to be able to turn to the police to deliver justice and to prosecute the perpetrators of male violence.”