Here’s what to do if you’re stopped by an undercover police officer in Leicestershire

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This will probably never happen to you – but you can never be sure. How would you react if someone pretending to be a police officer stopped you while you were walking home alone?

The natural response of many people would be to follow the individual’s instructions, despite the initial shock.

You would most likely assume that there was a simple mistake that could be quickly ironed out as long as you cooperate.

READ MORE: Check out more crime and police stories on Leicestershire Live

Thoughtful citizens tend to support the hard work of the police to fight crime and keep us safe.

So we would love to help if we can – especially if we have nothing to hide.

Unfortunately, however, there have been cases of criminals posing as police officers in order to gain the trust of potential victims.

And you would be especially vulnerable if you were, say, a woman coming home from work or from a night out – alone.

In the tragic case of Sarah Everard’s murder, it was an officer on duty who organized a false arrest to kidnap her.

The 33-year-old marketing executive was walking home from a friend’s London house on the night of March 3 this year, when she was duped in a car by Wayne Couzens – on the false pretext that she had raped Covid-19 regulations.

In response to Sarah’s murder and the ensuing crisis of confidence on the part of many women in the Metropolitan Police, she introduced a new system for the conduct of her undercover officers.

Under the new protocol, announced this week, they will have to video call a uniformed colleague to confirm their identity when a single woman is arrested.

This is a policy to reassure the public after Sarah’s murder and Couzens’ recent conviction and imprisonment for her rape and murder.



Photo of Sarah Everard published by the Crown Prosecution Service

The new guidance and advice for officers and the public in London, however, is unlikely to be adopted here in Leicestershire just yet, he emerged.

When LeicestershireLive approached Leicestershire Police to discuss changes in the capital, we were told the force “would not comment on the policies of another police force”.

This means that city and county plainclothes officers will continue to follow the same protocol already in place when it comes to confronting single women – or single men for that matter – in the performance of their duties.

The advice to anyone approached by such a person remains the same as before the murder of Sarah Everard.



Wayne Couzens (right) and Sarah Everard next to a vehicle outside Poynders Court
Wayne Couzens, a police officer with the Met, pictured approaching Sarah Everard before kidnapping, raping and murdering her

So what is it?

Well, a Leicestershire Police spokesperson provided a one-line response to our request.

They said: “Our current policy is for people to ask for a warrant card and, when in doubt, to call the police.”

The force was unwilling to elaborate on the matter, discuss the matter or answer any other questions aimed at reassuring the public.

With fake police warrant cards available on the internet this would suggest that the best course of action if alone and stopped by someone claiming to be an undercover officer would be to immediately call number 101 and ask the Leicestershire Police to verify the agent. credits.



Vigil held in Leicester city center in memory of Sarah Everard and other victims of abuse, murder and violence.
Vigil held in Leicester city center in memory of Sarah Everard and other victims of abuse, murder and violence.

If you believe your safety is at risk, call 999 immediately.

Dame Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, announced the new system in the capital to members of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee.

The force came under heavy criticism after suggesting that women who feared they might not be legitimately arrested should try to report a passing bus or run to a nearby house.

When asked if the opinion had been considered, Dame Cressida told the committee: “I fully understand why this ended up being the title.



Lady Cressida Dick
Lady Cressida Dick

“It wasn’t intended, and that’s not how we see it. Yes, we looked at it and I think we would approach it differently if it happened again in the future.

“What I can say today is that we are launching our Safe Connection, as we call it, which allows a woman who is arrested by such a policeman to immediately verify that it is indeed a policeman.

“Because my plainclothes officers will be calling into a control room, then they’ll have a video call with a uniformed sergeant who says ‘yes, that’s so-and-so, he’s PC XYZ.’

“So this is a quick and easy way that is initiated by the officer, not by the woman who has to request it.”

Samaritans: 116 123. Website: www.samaritans.org . Email: [email protected]

Offer confidential 24-hour telephone support. You can also contact them by SMS or email.

NHS 111 service: 111. Website: www.nhs.uk .

Call the NHS 111 service if you need urgent medical help or advice. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust / Turning point: 0808 800 3302. A free hotline for people of all ages in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland for their own urgent mental health needs or for others with urgent needs of concern.

Mind Info Line: 0300 123 3393. Website: www.mind.org.uk . Email: [email protected] Text: 86463

Information on a range of mental health issues and support. The lines are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

HOPELineFR: 0800 068 41 41

A specialized telephone service run by qualified PAPYRUS professionals who provide non-judgmental support, practical advice and information to children, adolescents, young adults up to 35 years old and anyone concerned by a young person. Opening hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Friday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., weekends and public holidays.

Suicide grief survivors (SoBS): 0300 111 5065. The telephone assistance is open from 9 am to 9 pm from Monday to Sunday.

NSPCC Childline: 0800 1111. Website: www.childline.org.uk

Children’s charity providing support and research on mental illness.

HEALTHY: 0845 767 8000. Website: www.sane.org.uk . Email: [email protected]

After-hours helpline offering specialized emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and caregivers. Open every day from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

THE CITIZEN’S COUNCIL: Adviceline (England): 0800 144 8848. Advicelink (Wales): 0800 702 2020. Debt hotline: 0800 240 4420. Website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Professional help and advice on a range of issues, such as debt relief, benefits, housing and legal issues. The lines are available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wiltshire Police previously announced a similar program where officers will put their personal radios on loudspeakers and ask their control room to confirm their identity.

Dame Cressida stressed that the onus should be on the police to identify themselves correctly and that the advice given to the bus was “if all else fails” when someone may want to try to get help.

She said: “I want to be clear, the responsibility lies with the officer.”

Sarah Everard’s killer was sentenced to life last month after confessing to her kidnapping, rape and murder.

The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, is currently examining whether allegations of Couzens’ previous conduct – including an indecent exposure charge in 2015 and again in the days leading up to the murder of Sarah – were properly investigated by Kent Police and the Met.

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