06:44 GMT11 April 2021
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    UK resident Sarah Everard recently made global headlines and reignited discussions on gender-based violence after she was killed while walking home alone moments after leaving a friend’s house in London’s Wandsworth borough. She was 33 years old.

    An officer with the UK’s Metropolitan Police was recently pulled from front-line assignments after department leadership was informed that a service member had sent a “vile” message to colleagues about the Everard case.

    Local media reports indicate that the unidentified officer reportedly shared an “inappropriate graphic” via popular messaging app WhatsApp to colleagues, and that the message had been brought to the attention of senior officials with the agency’s Directorate of Professional Standards on Friday, over concerns regarding the content.

    At the time, the individual was serving as a probationary police constable with the department, and had been assigned to guard the wooded Kent area where Everard’s body was found last week. 

    In addition to the Directorate of Professional Standards being informed of the concerning development, a voluntary referral has also been issued to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, according to Kent Online. This incident marks the six such referral made to the office.

    A representative for the Metropolitan Police has indicated that the graphic did not contain an image related to the investigation or any images of Everard.

    “The MPS expects its officers to behave professionally at all times and this includes how they use social media,” Nick Ephgrave, assistant commissioner of the police force, said in a statement to the outlet. “I take allegations that any officer or officers have failed to observe these standards very seriously and have referred this matter to the IOPC.”

    Everard’s family has been made aware of the incident.

    The latest development came days after UK authorities filed charges last week against PC Wayne Couzens for the kidnapping and murder of Everard. Couzens had his first court appearance on Saturday, and is expected to appear at the Old Bailey again on March 16.

    Related:

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    UK Policing Minister Doesn't Back Calls for London Police Chief to Resign After Sarah Everard Vigil
    UK Home Secretary Patel Delivers Statement After Sarah Everard Vigil
    Londoners Gather in Parliament Square Amid Outcry Over Sarah Everard Killing
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    London Metropolitan Police, UK Metropolitan Police, London, UK, Sarah Everard
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