Fiona Hamilton

The Times

Wayne Couzens - when the PC killer of Sarah Everard received a whole life sentence there was still a narrative amongst many senior police that he was an aberration; a rogue officer who could not have been stopped and that no one was aware of his depravity. There had been a prior report of indecent exposure but, prior to the murder, detectives had not connected it to Couzens. The Metropolitan Police insisted there had been nothing major to suggest Couzens, one of its firearms officers, posed a threat.

My scoop, the day after his sentencing, blew a hole in this narrative. I revealed a secret investigation into officers from the Met and two other forces who had shared racist, misogynistic and otherwise offensive Whatsapp messages with Couzens. The horror of the attack on Everard had been laid bare in the courtroom but my story raised the prospect, for the first time, that some within the policing world were aware of his misogynistic and violent tendencies. It increased the pressure on the Met to carry out a proper inquiry into why Couzens was not stopped, as well as raising serious concerns about the wider culture in policing - an issue that still reverberates. Within a week, two independent inquiries were announced. These damaging revelations, with clear public interest, would not have been revealed at this stage if it were not for my story. The agencies involved - the Met, Crown Prosecution Service and the Independent Office of Police Conduct - had agreed to keep quiet about this investigation while the Couzens story was at fever pitch. I was only able to break this because of my contacts and extensive knowledge of the Couzens case. Home Office file deletion. The Home Office kept quiet when tens of thousands of crucial files, including DNA and criminal history records, were accidentally deleted from police systems. It was only because of my reporting that they admitted this potentially catastrophic failure to the public. The scoop was only possible because of my efforts to cultivate sources at senior levels, and the high levels of trust they have placed in me - particularly as initially it was only a small circle of people who were aware of the deletion. This was the latest in the series of IT failures in policing and the revelations forced the Home Office to call an independent inquiry. Saturday Essay. This is an example of applying my knowledge and experience to produce an in-depth and analytical piece on the state of policing, which is in serious crisis. I interviewed well over a dozen senior policing figures to produce a balanced essay that explored complex issues. This entry highlights the kind of extensively researched, feature length piece that I regularly provide on my patch, above and beyond regular exclusives