Women's Safety Advice
We understand there is deep shock and anger after what we have heard over the past two days about the horrifying circumstances in which Sarah Everard’s life was taken.
The sentencing of Wayne Couzens cannot remove the pain and suffering of Sarah’s family or loved ones. They have shown such courage and dignity throughout these dark times and our thoughts remain with them.
Many communities have been left asking questions about the trust they can place in policing. We come into this job to keep the public safe and there is an absolute determination to work hard to regain that public trust.
We will do everything we can, including being part of the wider discussion taking place in society today so that women and girls feel safe on their own streets.
We must and we will continue to work harder with every part of the justice system and the communities we serve to rebuild trust and make our streets as safe as possible for women and girls.
We have always taken violence against women and girls seriously. However, we accept that the voice of women and girls has not been reflected as it should be in our policing priorities and plans. We’ve recently conducted a survey to ask you for your thoughts and this will be reflected in our plans.
While policing cannot provide all the solutions to end this violence, we have a major role to play in making women and girls feel safe and confident to report, as well as preventing harm and bringing perpetrators to justice.
We want to rebuild trust and make our streets as safe as possible and as part of this we want to reassure you that you are safe when interacting with us.
It’s our responsibility to do this and all our officers are being advised to make sure that they readily provide this reassurance to verify who they are if asked.
We always want to explain and give reassurance about who we are, what we are doing and why.
If you still feel things aren’t quite right or you are in imminent danger, please seek assistance, if that means shouting out to another member of the public, flagging a car down or even dialling 999 then do that.
What to do if you have concerns an officer is threat to you / how do you prove an officer is genuine?
We completely hear the legitimate concerns being raised and we know women are worried. All our officers are concerned about the impact of these horrific crimes on trust in the police and we want to do all we can to rebuild that trust.
If you find yourself in an interaction with a sole police officer and you are on your own, it is entirely reasonable for you to seek further reassurance of that officer’s identity and intentions.
Our advice is to ask some questions of that officer:
- Where are your colleagues?
- Where have you come from?
- Why are you here?
- Exactly why are you stopping or talking to me?
Try to seek some independent verification of what they say, if they have a radio ask to hear the voice of the operator, even ask to speak through the radio to the operator to say who you are and for them to verify you are with a genuine officer, acting legitimately.
All officers will, of course, know about this case and will be expecting in an interaction like that - rare as it may be - that members of the public may be understandably concerned and more distrusting than they previously would have been, and should and will expect to be asked more questions.
If after all of that you feel in real and imminent danger and you do not believe the officer is who they say they are, for whatever reason, then I would say you must seek assistance - shouting out to a passer-by, running into a house, knocking on a door, waving a bus down or if you are in the position to do so calling 999.