Calls for new reforms to London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) have grown louder after the killer cop responsible for the murder of Sarah Everard was sentenced this week.

Everard, a 33-year old marketing executive, was kidnapped, raped and murdered by former MPS officer Wayne Couzens in February. Her death sparked an outcry from women in the U.K. and civil society groups who are calling for deep changes to the department, which they charge as incompetent, institutionally racist, and incapable of ensuring women’s safety on British streets. 

Among the demands are the resignation of MPS Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, the first woman and openly gay person to hold that title. Even before assuming the position in 2017, Dame Cressida’s career has had its fair share of controversies, but the spate of high-profile killings and disappearances of women have left the British public infuriated. 

After the murder of Everard, MPS officers disrupted a vigil for her over what they defended as enforcement of COVID-19 regulations. Dame Cressida deflected blame away from her officers by claiming that outrage was being stoked by social media comments despite the physical clashes between police and a largely female crowd of protesters.

The MPS is also being criticized for failing to flag warning signs about Couzens in their background checks into his past before hiring him into the force. Five other officers are also being investigated for allegedly sharing misogynistic and other derisive messages in a Whatsapp group after discovering them during the probe into Everard’s death. 

The murder of 28-year old Sabina Nessa and the MPS’ mishandling of the disappearance of Black women and girls in London has also sparked accusations of institutional racism against the service.

Following Couzens’ sentencing on Thursday to life in prison, Dame Cressida issued an apology to Everard’s family. She said she is “so sorry” for their loss and promised to "improve women's safety and reduce the fear of violence”.

That promise has so far done little more than stoke more fury at the Met. 

On Thursday, the MPS announced how it will address women's safety concerns and released guidance for citizens approached by lone police officers in response to Everard’s murder. The advice includes “waving down a bus” or dialing the police if they fear that they are in danger during an encounter with a lone officer. 

Victims' advocates and politicians alike have criticized the advice as outlandish. The Feminist Women's Equality Party slammed the "fundamental lack of insight into the issue of women's safety with the police." It has also called on the government to treat violence against women as a "national threat" akin to terrorism.

Despite the outcry, the government does not appear to be backing down from its support for the embattled police chief. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office previously reiterated No. 10's confidence in Dame Cressida and extended her contract as commissioner until 2024. The decision was roundly criticized by those demanding reform, not just of the MPS, but the Johnson government’s overall approach to gender-based violence. 

The Metropolitan Police Federation, the largest body representing the MPS rank and file, and London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan also expressed their support for Dame Cressida.