The officer, who is in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, remains in custody after being detained on suspicion of the murder and kidnapping of Ms Everard, and on a separate allegation of indecent exposure.
Writing in The Sun, Ms Patel said while such “awful” incidents are rare, they are also extremely worrying because they remind women everywhere “of the steps we all take on a daily basis, without a second thought, to keep ourselves safe”.
She said these concerns had been compounded by the fact the man arrested in this case was a serving officer, but said the “vast majority” of police personnel were people of the highest integrity.
“The police hold positions of trust in our communities and it is deeply disturbing to imagine that someone who we would all put our faith in if in danger could allegedly be responsible for such an abhorrent crime,” Ms Patel wrote.
“However, the professionalism and conduct I have witnessed through my own engagement with the police since Sarah’s disappearance has reminded me that the vast majority of police officers serve with the utmost integrity and represent the very best of public service.
“There are currently hundreds of dedicated officers working night and day to bring the perpetrator to justice under the leadership of the first female Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick.”
Ms Patel said the Government was developing on a new national strategy on tackling violence against women and girls to be published this year, which was informed in part by more than 15,000 responses to a public survey on the subject her department launched last year.
She said this was “just one part of the action that I am taking to better target perpetrators and support victims and survivors”.
Ms Everard went missing while walking in south London last week. Human remains – which have not yet been identified – were found in an area of woodland in Ashford, in Kent, on Wednesday.