Scotland Yard has announced that the serving Metropolitan Police officer who had been detained in connection with the disappearance of Sarah Everard has now been arrested on suspicion of murder.
The Met said that the officer had initially been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping on Tuesday (9 Mar).
The force revealed that the officer is a member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, and that his primary duty was uniformed patrol of diplomatic premises.
A police statement said that “a woman in her 30s was also arrested on the evening of 9 March on suspicion of assisting an offender” and that she remains in custody.
Following the arrest of the officer, the Met has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
‘Shocking and deeply disturbing’
Assistant Met Police Commissioner Nick Ephgrave called the revelation that a serving Met Police officer who had been arrested was both “shocking and deeply disturbing”.
After the initial arrest had been announced, Ephgrave said: “The arrest this evening is a serious and significant development.
“We will continue to work with all speed on this investigation but the fact that the arrested man is a serving Metropolitan Police officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing.
“I understand there will be significant public concern but it is essential that the investigative team are given the time and space to continue their work.”
The Met has visited 750 homes in the area where Ms Everard disappeared as part of its enquiries, and the force has received over 120 phone calls from members of the public in relation to the case.
‘Thoughts and prayers with Sarah’s family and friends’
Speaking to ITV News, London Mayor Saqid Khan said: “First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with Sarah’s family and her friends. I live not too far from where Sarah went missing, and my wife, daughters and myself walk those roads and we’ve seen the posters put up by Sarah’s friends.
“I’ve been in regular contact with the commissioner. This is a significant development. Let’s wait and see how the criminal investigation pans out, and at this stage, you can just imagine what Sarah’s family are going through. We’ve been in contact with them and will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
“As soon as there are further developments, the Met Police service will let the public know, but of course it’s right and proper that the family knows first.”
Khan shared the news clip on Twitter, also writing: “Like so many Londers across our city, my heart goes out to the family and friends of Sarah Everard, who are so desperately worried about her.
“I’m in constant contact with the Met Police Commissioner and officers are doing absolutely everything they can.”