Sunday, December 5, 2021

Sarah Everard murder: Cops approaching a woman will need to verify ID

test

British police officers approaching a woman alone in London will need to verify their identity via video-call to a superior following the high-profile murder of Sarah Everard, the force said Wednesday.

Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, was last month jailed for the rest of his life for raping and murdering the 33-year-old marketing executive after falsely arresting her on the pretence she had broken coronavirus restrictions.

The case shocked Britain and brought renewed attention on violence against women and girls — and how police respond.

The Met vowed changes in the wake of the sentencing but came under fire for suggesting women flag down a bus or shout to passers-by if they do not a trust an officer who stops them.

From Wednesday, the force said lone plain-clothed officers will “proactively provide verification of their identity and purpose to any lone woman they need to engage with using a video call to a uniformed supervisor in one of our police operations rooms”.

The supervisor will provide reassurance that the officer is who they say they are and that they are acting appropriately and ensure the encounter is recorded.

“It is very unusual for a lone plain-clothed officer to engage with a lone woman,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor.

“It is simply not how we usually operate but there are some rare circumstances where this could happen and we want to give all the reassurance we can.

“We know we need to regain women’s trust and we fully accept that the onus is on us to verify we are who we say we are and that we are acting appropriately.”

Assistant Met Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said after Couzens was sentenced that the murderer’s vetting check was not carried out “correctly” when he joined the Met in 2018.

But the Met denied knowing that in his previous job with Britain’s civil nuclear police force, Couzens was known to colleagues as “the rapist” because of his hostility to women.

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