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Cop guarding where Sarah Everard body found shared sick joke

A cop who was guarding the site where the remains of murdered woman Sarah Everard were found shared a sick joke with colleagues in a WhatsApp group.

Sarah Everard, 33, had been at a friend's house in Clapham, south London, on March 3 in the hours before she went missing while walking home.

Wayne Couzens, 44, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department, was charged with her murder and kidnapping.

After her remains were found in a builder's bag last week, a cop guarding the area shared a meme to a WhatsApp group with colleagues of a woman being abducted by a police officer.

Disturbed colleagues reported the cop over the twisted joke and Met Police have launched an internal inquiry and referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

An undated family handout of Sarah Everard.
Sarah Everard went missing while walking home from a friend's house on March 3. Source: AAP

Metropolitan Police said in a statement they were made aware of the inappropriate image by the probationary constable on March 12.

"The PC had been deployed as a cordon officer supporting the search operation in Kent in relation to the matter of Sarah Everard," police said in a statement.

"The officer has been removed from these duties and placed in a non-public facing role while enquiries continue."

The police said the graphic sent by the police officer did not contain images of Ms Everard or any other material related to the murder investigation.

Metropolitan Police officers guard an area near where Sarah Everard's body was found.
A police officer guarding the site where Sarah Everard's body was found shared a disturbing image with colleagues. Source: AAP

Her family is aware of the incident.

"The Metropolitan Police Services expects its officers to behave professionally at all times and this includes how they use social media," Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said in a statement.

"I take allegations that any officer or officers have failed to observe these standards very seriously."

Police slammed for actions at Sarah Everard vigil

London's Metropolitan Police is also under heavy pressure to explain its actions during a vigil for Ms Everard.

Hundreds on Saturday defied coronavirus restrictions to gather and protest violence against women, but the event ended with clashes between police and those attending.

Police were seen scuffling with some women at the event, and one was seen pinned to the ground by two officers. Several women were led away in handcuffs as other attendees chanted "Shame on you" at police.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said scenes from Saturday's vigil in south London were "upsetting" and she is seeking a full report on what happened from the Metropolitan Police.

The capital's mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the police response was "at times neither appropriate nor proportionate".

The force later said four people were arrested for violating public order and coronavirus regulations.

Many of those attending the vigil were already hostile to police as a serving Metropolitan Police officer was charged with Ms Everard's kidnap and murder.

The case has sparked a national outcry and a heated debate on women's safety.

Organisers had planned an official vigil at Clapham Common, near where Everard was last seen alive, but were forced to cancel the event because of COVID-19 restrictions.

A huge crowd turned up on Saturday nonetheless.

Defending the force's actions, Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said "hundreds of people were packed tightly together", posing a very real risk of transmitting the virus.

She added that officers had repeatedly encouraged those attending to leave, but "a small minority" of people chanted at police, pushing and throwing objects.

with AAP

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