This week (Thursday, September 30) Couzens – who was working for the Met at the time – was given a whole life sentence for the rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
Sussex assistant chief constable Jayne Dando, lead for local policing, said, “We have all been left shocked and disturbed by the actions of ex-police officer Wayne Couzens.
“First and foremost, our thoughts remain with the courageous family of Sarah Everard, whose happy life has so tragically been cut short.
“Couzens is a vile criminal and his actions horrific. He does not reflect the values of the police service, nor the majority of police officers and staff, who dedicate their lives to helping and protecting the public, including women and girls.”
ACC Dando said the case will have a ‘profound impact on public trust and confidence in the police, particularly with women’ but said Sussex Police is ‘committed to rebuilding trust’ and ‘will continue to improve [its] services’.
She said the force will work with partners ‘to prevent and tackle violence against women and girls and to target the perpetrators’.
ACC Dando said, “We have a strong partnership of agencies and charities in Sussex working together on this and to address the root causes of gender inequality, which cannot be addressed by police alone.
“Our commitment is reflected in a range of initiatives, some of which have been recognised as national best practice.”
Some of the initiatives include stalking and domestic abuse perpetrator programmes, new enhanced safeguarding processes for victims, and a new specialist Local Resolution Team which is trained to deal with domestic abuse cases.
She said, “Policing is a reflection of the society we serve, we are committed to eradicating misogyny and inequality and playing our part in addressing these societal issues.”
Police and crime commissioner for Sussex Katy Bourne said, “Following the events of recent days, I know that Sussex Police officers and staff are totally committed to ensuring that the public have complete confidence and trust in their local police force to protect and help them.
“Together with Sussex Police, my office is working on projects to tackle male violence against women and girls and I hope this work will go some way towards restoring their perception of safety on the streets of Sussex.”