A documentary following the failings in the investigation of serving police officers is coming to Channel 5, led by an all-female production team.
Wayne Couzens: Killer in Plain Sight will follow the powerful, year-long investigation into the story of a serving Met Police Officer who used his powers to rape and ultimately kill.
Produced by an all-female production team, the film represents the unheard voices of survivors of police sexual violence and reveals a culture of misogyny within the police, a lack of scrutiny with catastrophic results.
In 2021, serving Met police officer Couzens abducted, raped, and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard.
She had been walking home from a friend’s house, and her death sparked a nationwide movement which shook the country.
Using his profession – a police warrant card and handcuffs – Couzens lured the 33-year-old into his car in South London as he pretended to ‘arrest’ her.
He then drove the marketing executive 80 miles to Kent, where he raped and killed her.
Couzens, 50, is now serving a whole life sentence for his crimes, as well as 19 months’ jail for exposing himself to women three times before he murdered Sarah.
He was labelled a ‘rogue officer’, a ‘bad apple’, but as more information emerged about the red flags that were missed, the public started asking questions about how this could have happened
And then another police officer, David Carrick, from the same unit was accused of 80 counts of sexual assault and the nation wanted answers.
He was jailed for life for ‘using and abusing’ his role to take ‘monstrous advantage’ of 12 vulnerable victims over two decades.
Over a dozen Metropolitan Police officers have been convicted of serious offences since the murder of Sarah – the majority of who committed sex crimes against women.
The new Channel 5 documentary, using the story of Couzens as a thread throughout, unpicks the red flags that went unnoticed leading up to the rape and murder of Sarah.
The synopsis states: ‘The film uncovers a much bigger story of sexual violence in the police force, a force where sexual predators and domestic abusers were hidden in plain sight.’
With over 1,000 police officers now being investigated over cases of alleged sexual offences or domestic violence in the Met (according to a January 2023 review), the film reveals fresh evidence and asks if women’s faith in policing can be restored.
Channel 5 Commissioning Editor, Unscripted, Channel 5 and Paramount+, Daniel Pearl said: ‘The Flicker team have produced a powerful and affecting film which draws on interviews with experts, former police officers, previously unheard stories from survivors of police abuse and those who knew Wayne Couzens, to investigate what and who enabled him to commit such a heinous crime. I am hugely grateful to the incredibly brave survivors who felt able to share their powerful stories with us.’
Colleen Flynn, Chief Creative Officer, Flicker Productions said: ‘We wanted to examine the breakdown in trust between women and the police as a result of the Wayne Couzens case, the repercussions of which are still being felt today.
‘By giving a voice to women on-screen and off, our aim is to instigate real systemic change, by shining a light on a toxic culture that enabled serious wrongdoing.’
This comes after a top officer admitted policing has ‘lost the trust of many women and girls’.
Deputy chief constable Maggie Blyth, NPCC co-ordinator for violence against women and girls, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in March: ‘We know that policing has lost the trust of many women and girls across the country and behind these figures, of course, is a victim in every case, and also importantly, is a perpetrator.’
Wayne Couzens: Killer in Plain Sight airs on Channel 5 and then My5 on Thursday, June 15 at 9pm.
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