‘Wayne Couzens would have been verified’: Met Police slammed over video call plans to verify officer identity

‘Wayne Couzens would have been verified’: Met Police slammed over video call plans to verify officer identity

The Metropolitan Police has been criticised for its latest initiative to improve women’s trust in its service following the murder of Sarah Everard.

Following sustained criticism of the force after serving police officer Wayne Couzens used his own police identification to falsely arrest then rape and murder Everard, the police force announced that, if stopping a woman, plain clothes police officers will have to video call their supervisors who will verify their identity and provide reassurance.

Dame Cressida Dick announced the scheme, called Safe Connection, to the London Assembly yesterday. She told City Hall “the onus is on the officer to make lone women feel safe.”

She said: “Because my plain-clothes officers will call into a control room, they will then have a video call with a sergeant in uniform who will say ‘yes that’s so-and-so, he’s PC XYZ’ and so on”.

This will be in addition to officers showing their warrant cards.

But given Couzens was a police officer, his identity would have surely been verified by police under these measures and so people, including Labour MP Dawn Butler, have slammed the proposals:

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The force’s attempts to regain women’s trust have fallen flat before and they faced a huge backlash when they suggested women who feel unsafe in the presence of a lone male police officer should run away, get on a bus, or call the police.

Meanwhile, a police boss in North Yorkshire was recently forced to resign after he suggested women “need to be streetwise” and that Everard “never should have submitted” to the fake arrest that led to her brutal murder.

Nevertheless, the Met appeared unaware of ways in which their plan may fall short, and in a press release announcing the scheme, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, Frontline Policing, added: “We hope that being able to see and speak to a uniformed colleague in what will very visibly be a police operations room, and know that there is a proper police record of the encounter, will provide the reassurance that we understand is necessary.”

Indy100 has contacted the Metropolitan Police to comment on this story.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about your rights when dealing with the police, click here.

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