“Are the police taking this issue seriously enough? It’s infuriating. I think the public feel that they aren’t and they’re not wrong,” Johnson told The Times on Saturday.
“There is an issue about how we handle sexual violence, domestic violence, the sensitivity, the diligence, the time, the delay…that’s the thing we need to fix,” he added.
One woman is killed by a man on average every three days in the UK, according to data from the Femicide Census, an organization that tracks violence against women and girls. The group argues that the government’s new strategy to curb such violence “shamefully ignores” victims of femicide.
The government has promised to take action to tackle violence against women and girls, but activists and the opposition say the steps it proposed were inadequate.
“Far, far too many women are basically finding their lives lost to this system, waiting for their complaint to be taken seriously, waiting for their case to be heard, and nothing is happening,” Johnson said.
The Metropolitan Police declined to provide a new comment in response to Johnson’s interview, but directed CNN to an earlier statement issued Thursday which stressed that recent cases of violence against women have brought into “sharp focus” the police’s “urgent duty to do more to protect women and girls.”
Everard is not the first woman to be killed by a British policeman. And campaigners fear she won’t be the last.
Speaking following the sentencing of Couzens on Thursday, London’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said she was “sickened” by the abuse of power in the case of Everard’s murder.
“There are no words that can fully express the fury, and overwhelming sadness that we all feel about what happened to Sarah. I am so sorry,” she said.
The advice to women approached by lone police officers included running “into a house,” “waving down a bus” or calling the police on 999 if they do not believe the officer is “who they say they are” after questioning them.
On Friday, Johnson said he had confidence in the police and stood by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, but noted that “there is a problem” with how cases of rape and violence against women are handled.
He also said that the government is trying to “compress” the time between complaints being filed by women and the point at which action is taken, adding that he believes the recruitment of more female police officers could make “the most fundamental change of all.”
CNN’s Kara Fox contributed to this report.