Police met in civilian clothes must now video call their colleagues when they arrest single women
The Metropolitan Police called this an attempt to “regain the confidence of women”
The Metropolitan Police have announced that solitary plainclothes officers in London will now go video call a policeman in uniform and ask them to confirm their identity when they stop a woman alone in the street.
This new process follows the murder of Sarah Everard earlier this year. Sarah was murdered by Wayne Couzens, a police officer on duty at the time, who was recently jailed for life after faking Sarah’s arrest and continuing to kidnap, rape and murder her.
The process aims to make the officer responsible for proving that he is legitimate and a member of the Metropolitan Police. But as we saw in March earlier this year, Sarah Everard’s killer wasn’t pretending to be a cop, Wayne Couzens was a real officer on duty. He was exactly what he said he was and his colleagues on a video call allegedly verified him.
Regarding how the video call works, Metropolitan Police said the calls would be made using the officer’s mobile device. The Met said all local operating rooms have been fitted with a dedicated mobile device to make and receive these calls which use a range of popular video calling services, including FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom and Google Duo. .
And if the agent does not have their mobile device, they will provide the woman with the phone number to visually call the operations room directly. Apparently, the uniformed supervisor in the control room will make the necessary checks and reassure that the agent is who he claims to be and is acting appropriately. They will also make sure that the meeting is correctly recorded.
The reactions to the Metropolitan Police’s attempt to regain the confidence of women are all roughly the same. And it is the fact that this whole process is deaf and proves that no one has listened to women. One person on Twitter said: “I guess I don’t understand something here: Sarah Everard was murdered by a real plainclothes policeman who could confirm her identity, not a man posing as a cop. How is this supposed to make women and gender minorities feel more secure? “
Someone else said that wouldn’t stop agents like Wayne Couzens from abusing their power. They tweeted: “Wayne Couzens would have had his identity verified. It does not solve the problem of officers killing people.
Other people point out the obvious, that this attempt to solve the problem in question solves nothing at all. Sarah Everard wasn’t murdered by someone posing as a police officer, she was a police officer – this process of video calling a colleague to confirm your identity doesn’t help anyone at all.
Assistant Deputy Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “It is very unusual for a single officer in civilian clothes to engage with a single woman. It’s just not the way we operate, but there are rare circumstances where it could happen and we want to give all the reassurance we can.
“We know we need to regain the trust of women and we fully accept that it is our responsibility to verify that we are who we say we are and that we are acting appropriately – which is why we introduced this system.”
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Feature image (before modifications) courtesy of Daniel Samray on Shutterstock.