Samantha de Reya, Deputy Chief Constable, Dorset Police
Dorset Police has set about reassuring local people after former Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens was sentenced to a whole life term for the murder of Sarah Everard.
Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya said: “Following events in London, the sentencing of Sarah Everard’s murderer cannot remove the pain and suffering of her family or loved ones. Our thoughts are firstly with them.
“We know confidence in policing, particularly from women and girls, has been significantly impacted by this tragedy and the thought that a serving officer abused his position in this way is sickening. Couzens has betrayed everything we stand for.
“We must and will continue to work harder with every part of the justice system, partner agencies and the communities we serve to rebuild trust and make our streets as safe as possible for women and girls.
“The actions of Couzens were a terrible abuse of power and do not represent policing. Police officers and staff who want to protect the public are as shocked and angered by this man’s crimes as all of our communities will be.
“We understand how concerning the actions of Couzens were and the desire that now exists about how to verify an officers’ identity.
“Police officers always carry identification and can always be asked for verification. They are used to providing that reassurance.
“Police officers will not always be in uniform, but it would be extremely unusual for an officer in plain clothes to be working alone. If they are, they should be calling for assistance with other officers arriving very soon to support them to help you if you are in need.
“In light of the actions of Couzens it is right that police officers expect and are tolerant of those who wish to be further reassured. They will want to explain and reassure who they are, what they are doing and why – that must only be expected and respected from our communities.”
“Our job is to police communities with compassion and keep the public safe and we do it because we care about people.
“Policing both locally and nationally will do everything it can, including being part of the wider discussion taking place in society today, so that women and girls feel safe on their own streets.”
The police advice is that if you cannot verify an officer’s identity, or feel in imminent danger, you must seek assistance, even if that means shouting out to another member of the public, flagging down a car or dialling 999.
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