A serving British police officer has been arrested over the disappearance of a 33-year-old woman who was last seen a week ago, in a move that was described by senior officers as significant and shocking.
Sarah Everard was last seen at 2130 GMT on Wednesday, March 3, when she walked home from a friend’s house in south London.
Police said the officer remained in custody and that he had not been on duty the night she disappeared. A woman was also arrested at the same location on suspicion of assisting an offender.
“The arrest this evening is a serious and significant development,” Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said in a statement.
“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.”
Police have launched an extensive investigation to find Everard, with officers searching streets and nearby areas on her route home, that went near the large grassy Clapham Common area.
Police and the family have released a number of photos of the woman, taken on the evening by CCTV cameras and on previous occasions, in the hope that someone will remember seeing her.
“We are searching as hard as we can to find Sarah so we really hope that is the case,” Ephgrave said when asked by reporters if she was still alive on Wednesday.
He said he could not give further details on whether the pair knew each other, or how long the man had been a police officer for.
The organisation charged with policing the conduct of officers is aware of the arrest.