Former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini QC is to chair an inquiry arising from the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, a serving Metropolitan Police officer.
The appointment, by Home Secretary Priti Patel, will be to lead a two-part inquiry investigating the issues arising from this specific case, as well as wider issues affecting policing.
Dame Elish has been appointed following consultation with the family of Sarah Everard. Currently Principal at St Hugh’s College, Oxford and a Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Oxford, she served as Solicitor General for Scotland from 2001 to 2006 and Lord Advocate between 2006 and 2011. She led a review commissioned by the then Home Secretary Theresa May into deaths in police custody, which published a report in 2017, and a review into police complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in Police Scotland, the final report of which was published in November 2020.
The Home Secretary announced last month that a non-statutory inquiry would be launched following the conviction of Wayne Cozens. The inquiry will be non-statutory to allow for it to be established and operate as swiftly and flexibly as possible. However, Ms Patel has stated that should the chair require it, the option remains to convert it to a statutory inquiry.
Part one of the inquiry will establish a comprehensive account of Couzens’ conduct throughout his career in policing, including looking for whether any red flags were missed and whether allegations made against him were properly handled. Part two will look at specific issues raised by part one, which will report to the Home Secretary as soon as possible. A more precise timetable will be set out once the terms of reference are published.
The Home Secretary will work with Dame Elish to finalise the terms of reference.
Ms Patel said: "The Angiolini inquiry will shine a light on the failings that allowed a serving police officer to abuse his power in such a horrific manner and make recommendations for change within policing.
"Dame Elish will bring a wealth of legal and criminal justice expertise to this role and I am delighted she has agreed to chair the inquiry."