Wayne Couzens documentary director on importance of all-female production team
Former police officer Wayne Couzens was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard in 2021.
Channel 5 is looking into the case of former Met Police Officer Wayne Couzens, who was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard in 2021, in its new documentary Wayne Couzens: Killer in Plain Sight.
Produced by an all-female production team, the film hears from survivors of police sexual violence and examines how a culture of misogyny within the police led to a lack of scrutiny with catastrophic results.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, producer and director Alana McVerry revealed the importance of having an all-female production team, admitting it was a story that "affected" each and every one of them.
"So we did have a male editor, but the people on the ground who spent six months making it were all female," she explained. "So we had female investigative journalists, a female producer, female assistant producers, female execs and the senior team were female.
"I think it's partly because Flicker Productions really tries to champion women, but also because I've made a lot of films about male violence against women and we have survivors in the film that speak to the current situation – people who also experienced abuse by police officers – to show that this is a bigger problem, and it's not just about Wayne Couzens and David Carrick and those individuals."
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Throughout the film, survivors of coercion, rape and sexual violence discuss whether police violence towards women is endemic across the country.
McVerry said it was vital that these women shared their stories with other women, adding: "You need a female production team really for those individuals that have experienced abuse. It's very difficult for them to speak about that abuse to a male production team."
As well as this, McVerry noted that there are some experiences a male team wouldn't have been able to relate to, which was crucial for the storytelling.
She continued: "It's a story that affected all of the team pretty much on the ground – we're sort of a similar age to Sarah, similar demographic, and I think one of the reasons this story became so big was because everybody thought, 'That could have been me,' because everybody would have got in that car in that situation.
"As women, we say to friends, 'Text me when you get home' and I never really questioned that. I never thought about the fact that women say that to each other and men don't. I was just like, 'Oh, that is an experience that women have that men don't and I think having a team that really understands that and really relates to that helps dispel that story."
In 2021, Couzens – who was a serving police officer at the time – abducted, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house. He was sentenced to a whole-life prison term.
The case prompted serious questions about the red flags that were missed, with a police watchdog concluding last month that he could have been arrested in 2015.
Wayne Couzens: Killer in Plain Sight airs tonight (Thursday 15th June) at 9pm, on Channel 5 and My5.