'Utterly Ridiculous' Police Safety Advice Sparks Fury After Wayne Couzens Sentencing
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Featured Image Credit: BBC Breakfast
Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, policing minister Kit Malthouse said "officers up and down the land recognise the devastating consequences of this event".
"There is a job to be done to rebuild trust by the police, particularly, I have to say, in London," he explained.
The minister added that it was "reasonable" for women who were concerned about a police officer's legitimacy to make "lines of enquiry", advising them that "rarely are officers deployed singularly".
Watch his rather eyebrow raising advice below:
Ahead of the minister's TV interview, Scotland Yard also issued some advice, suggesting that women should ask lone plain-clothes officers: "where are your colleagues", "where have you come from?", "why are you here" and "exactly why are you stopping or talking to me?".
If concerned, they say women should speak to an operator on a police radio to determine the officer is real.
"All officers will, of course, know about this case and will be expecting 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," the force said.
It added that in the event of "real and imminent danger" women should seek assistance by "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".
And let's just say that people had some feelings about this...
Referencing the vetting advice given, one person wrote: "Is that Just before or during them being dragged and handcuffed to their fate?"
"What a time to be living in. We’ve got to the point where women are being offered advice on how to behave to keep themselves safe…from the police," said another.
"I can just imagine how that would go down..'hang on officer can I just make a call to the control room?' You’d be restrained before you could get your phone out," quipped somebody else.
"I would like him to explain how easy it would be to call 999 or speak to a control room when some burley 'Police Officer' is threatening to arrest you," a fellow critic chimed in.
"Utterly ridiculous and detached from reality," said somebody else "Women will not be policing the police!!!"
Pointing out that this advice likely wouldn't have helped when Wayne Couzens arrested Sarah Everard, another despairingly wrote: "But he WAS an officer."
Labour MP Dawn Butler also wasn't impressed with the police's response, writing: "This advice just isn't good enough.
"Trust in the police is at an all time low, especially amongst the black community.
"Women are now scared of police officers, running into a house or flagging down a passer by will not build confidence. Or make Women feel safer."
To add insult to injury, during his TV interview, Malthouse added rather controversially that challenging an officer "won't be appropriate in every circumstance", seeing as they are "seeking to keep us all safe every day" and "need to be able to go about their business".
It comes after Wayne Couzens was sentenced on Thursday after a two-day hearing that contained new and upsetting details about Sarah's abduction back in March.
The marketing executive was walking home from her friend’s house in south London when she was abducted and murdered by Couzens - who was a police officer at the time, and pretended to be on duty to kidnap her, under the guise he was arresting her for a 'Covid-19 breach'.
Sarah's body was found in woodland a week later.
The 33-year-old's death sparked a nationwide discussion on sexism and misogyny in Britain, with many women calling for stricter penalties against men guilty of predatory behaviour.
Couzens will face a whole-life order for his crime, meaning he will die in prison. He is the first police officer to ever be given this sentence.
Tyla has contacted the MET Police for comment. You can read their full advice here.