Police officer charged with murdering Sarah Everard will receive full salary during criminal proceedings

Wayne Couzens has been charged with the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard.
Wayne Couzens has been charged with the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard. Photo credit: Facebook

The Metropolitan police officer charged with the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard will continue to receive his full salary while facing criminal charges.

Wayne Couzens, 48, earns at least £33,000 a year (NZ$63,515) in his role in Scotland Yard's Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Unit, according to The Sun.

The 48-year-old has been charged with murdering Sarah Everard, 33, who was last seen walking back to her south London home on March 3.

Her body was found around 80km away from south London, on March 10.

Couzens was arrested on March 9 at his home in Kent, first on the suspicion of kidnap.

The next day, while in police custody, he was arrested on the suspicion of murder. On March 12, he was charged with the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard.

A Police Federation spokesperson told The Sun officers under suspicion will continue to get paid until they are dismissed, presuming they are still innocent.

"The situation for police is in some ways not different to any other employee who has been arrested and charged for offences. 

"They would continue to be paid until the disciplinary process is invoked, the speed of which would be down to the employer."

London police's actions at Sarah Everard's outdoor vigil on Saturday evening prompted fury across the country.

Hundreds of people, including Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, gathered peacefully in London's Clapham Common, where Everard was last seen alive.

But late on Saturday, police officers marched into the crowd to shouts of "shame on you" as they dragged women away from the scene.

A woman was fined 200 pounds for breaking COVID-19 regulations.

"I feel very angry that they think that they have the right to dictate how we mourn and how we react," 24-year-old Lilith Blackwell told Reuters on Saturday.

But Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball defended the officers' action, and said the vigil breached coronavirus regulations.

"Hundreds of people were packed tightly together, posing a very real risk of easily transmitting COVID-19," Ball told Reuters.

Couzens is due to appear at the Central Criminal Court in London for a plea hearing on July 9.