Plain clothes police officers to verify identity through a video call when stopping women, Met say 1 month ago

Plain clothes police officers to verify identity through a video call when stopping women, Met say

The new rule comes after public outrage following the murder of Sarah Everard.

Plain clothes police officers will have to video call into a control room and verify their identity with a colleague when stopping a lone woman, Metropolitan Police have announced.

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Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said the new identity check will be introduced following the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Met Police officer earlier this year.

Officer Wayne Couzens orchestrated a fake arrest in order to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah in March.

Speaking on the new rule, the commissioner said:

"What I can say today is we are launching our ‘safe connection’, as we call it, which allows a woman who is stopped by such a police officer immediately to have verification that this is a police officer.

“My plain clothes officers will call into a control room, they will then have a video call with a sergeant in uniform who will say 'Yes, that’s so and so, he’s PC X, Y, Z’ – so a quick, easy way, which again is instigated by the officer, not by the woman having to ask for this.”

The force was heavily criticised last month after it issued advice suggesting women should try to flag down a passing bus or run to a nearby house if they suspect a police officer is not who they say they are.

Dame Cressida told London Assembly Police and Crime Committee on Wednesday that the Met had reviewed its widely-criticised safety advice.

“I completely understand why that ended up as the headline. It was not intended and it is not how we see things and yes, we have reviewed it.

“The problem here is men’s violence towards women, the problem is not for the women, or the woman, it’s really not.

"I want to be clear: the onus is on the officer to deal professionally with the person they are speaking to and in the very unusual circumstance a plain clothes police officer is talking to a lone female - which is likely to be extremely unusual in London - we would expect them to go to every effort, first of all to recognise the woman may feel uncomfortable, to explain themselves well, to identify themselves well…to call up a colleague."