MI5 feared female employees working with male Met police officers after Sarah Everard’s murder, counter-terrorism expert says
- Counter-terrorism expert Lord Harris said MI5 was concerned about female spies working closely with the Met after Wayne Couzens killed Sarah Everard
- The officer said they were ‘surprised’ when an MI5 employee raised the concerns
- Independent investigation underway into how Couzens passed the vetting process
MI5 feared female personnel working in the police after the murder of Sarah Everard, it is alleged.
Counter-terrorism expert Lord [Toby] Harris said the Security Service feared it could 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 when he addressed the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee on Wednesday.
He said on a recent visit to West London’s Counter Terrorism Operations Center – revealed in June last year – a Met officer told him they were “surprised” when an MI5 operative told them: “We’re feeling rather concerned about coming and with you in this center we are concerned about the safety of our female staff.’
Counter-terrorism expert Lord [Toby] Harris said the Security Service was concerned it could be “dangerous” for female spies to work closely with Scotland Yard after one of its officers, Wayne Couzens (pictured left), raped Sarah Everard (pictured right) last year and murdered.
Lord Harris (pictured) made the revelation when 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 for this particular officer who just realized how shocking this would be for everyone else and how that was the perception.’
The peer, who has conducted two assessments of London’s readiness for a terror attack, made the shocking revelation when asked about cultural issues at the Met.
An independent investigation is underway into vetting failures that allowed Couzens – who lost an attempt to have his life sentence overturned in July for the murder of Miss Everard – to join the police force as an elite firearms officer.
Last night a security source said: ‘MI5 and the police are working very closely and productively to keep the country safe’.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police added: ‘The Commissioner has made clear the high standards he expects from all officers and staff at the Met and how we will be proactive in addressing anything that falls below.’