Government accepts all recommendations made by Angiolini Inquiry

Government led recommendations made by Part 1 of the independent Angiolini Inquiry have been accepted

The Angiolini Inquiry was commissioned to uncover the circumstances and failures that led to the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer in 2021. We will work with policing to implement them at pace.

The Angiolini report, published last month, highlighted significant opportunities that were missed by multiple police forces that could have stopped Wayne Couzens before his heinous crime, and called for an overhaul of police vetting and recruitment.

The recommendations the government has accepted are to:

  • conduct a fundamental review of the way masturbatory indecent exposure is treated within the criminal justice system – working across the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, College of Policing and NPCC
  • commission research to establish if there is an evidence-based link between active masturbatory indecent exposure and subsequent contact offending – working with the College of Policing
  • launch a public campaign to raise awareness that indecent exposure and sending unsolicited photographs of genitals amounts to criminality and boost victims’ confidence to report such crimes – working with the NPCC

This review and research will increase understanding around masturbatory indecent exposure as a precursor to further sexual conduct, preventing more of these crimes in the first place and better supporting victims.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and College of Policing has at the same time committed to addressing the remaining recommendations in Lady Angiolini’s report concerning police culture and increasing the robustness of police vetting.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said:

"Sarah’s murder was sickening and, tragically, avoidable. She was fundamentally failed by the institutions which were meant to keep her safe.

"Since her death, huge strides have already been taken to root out officers not fit to wear the badge and bolster safeguards to prevent the wrong people joining the force.

"Now we will work with policing partners to understand the link between indecent exposure and an escalation in behaviour to ensure the right measures are in place to catch more criminals, earlier."

Minister for Victims and Safeguarding, Laura Farris said:

"Sarah Everard’s murder shocked the nation, devastated her loved ones and has profound implications for the future of policing. The Angiolini Inquiry comprehensively reviewed the facts and circumstances that contributed to Wayne Couzens’ offending and we are grateful to her for her work.

"We have already made a series of significant changes to police vetting, disciplinary and dismissal procedures.  But we accept her further recommendations on non-contact offences and the escalatory risk that they may pose.

"We are determined to leave no stone unturned in preventing an offence of this kind from ever happening again."

Since 2021, the government has already taken several steps to root out officers unfit to protect the country, bolster safeguards to prevent the wrong people joining the force, and, more broadly, to prioritise tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG).

This includes the largest ever integrity screening of all serving officers and staff conducted by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), and strengthening the requirements on officer vetting. 

Last month, the government set out further changes to the police disciplinary system which will mean that any officer charged with an indictable offence will be automatically suspended from duty until an outcome is reached, alongside legislation that will make it easier to sack officers who fail to hold basic vetting when re-checked, as well as anyone found guilty of gross misconduct.

The Home Office has also provided funding towards a new Violence Against Women and Girls Policing taskforce - implementing a new police strategy for improving the response to domestic abuse, rape, sexual offences and stalking. As part of this, a national policing role was created to help transform and co-ordinate the police response nationwide, taken up by Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth.  

We have classified violence against women and girls as a national threat, meaning the police must prioritise their response to it, just as they do with threats like terrorism. We expect that all sexual offending, including for cases where there is no contact such as indecent exposure, is taken very seriously by the police. It is paramount for victims to have the confidence to report these offences, knowing they will get the support they need and that everything will be done to bring offenders to justice.

To further support victims, the government is also funding Operation Soteria, a programme which brings together academics and police forces, to radically transform the way police and the Crown Prosecution Service investigate rape. All police forces and prosecutors in England and Wales are now 8 months into implementing the national operating model, with the number of cases assigned a charge in the latest quarter being over 30% higher than the same period in the previous year. 

The government will follow up with further detail on how the recommendations will be delivered in partnership with the College of Policing and NPCC in due course.

From: Home Office, Laura Farris MP, and The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP