Met to reassure women with more officers on beat in wake of Everard murder

·3-min read
The Metropolitan Police are to deploy more officers on the beat in public places (Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Archive)
The Metropolitan Police are to deploy more officers on the beat in public places (Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Archive)

The Metropolitan Police have pledged to deploy 650 new officers and increase patrols to do more to protect women and girls in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.

The force has also promised to publish a new strategy for tackling violence against women and girls, outlining how it will prioritise action against sexual and violent predatory offenders.

The new strategy will accompany a Predatory Offender Units which, since last November, has resulted in the arrests of more than 2,000 suspects for domestic abuse, sex offences, and child abuse.

The 650 new officers will be deployed into busy public places, “including those where women and girls often lack confidence that they are safe”, according to the force.

This is the most horrific of crimes, but we recognise this is part of a much bigger and troubling picture

Metropolitan Police

The Met have also promised to “step up” patrols and provide an increased police presence in areas identified as “hotspot” locations for violence and harassment.

Ms Everard was raped and killed by serving Metropolitan police officer, Wayne Couzens.

A Met Police spokesperson said: “The full horrific details of (Couzens’) crimes are deeply concerning and raise entirely legitimate questions.

“This is the most horrific of crimes, but we recognise this is part of a much bigger and troubling picture.

“There have been other horrific murders of women in public spaces, including the killings of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, and very recently of Sabina Nessa.

“All of these bring into sharp focus our urgent duty to do more to protect women and girls.”

The spokesperson added: “Understanding the concerns of women in London is really important to us and we are undertaking a range of activity so we can better listen and respond.”

As Couzens kidnapped Ms Everard by carrying out a false arrest with his warrant card, the force has also issued advice to anyone who is concerned a police officer is not acting legitimately during an interaction.

They recommend people ask where the officer’s colleagues are, where they have come from, why they are there, and exactly why they are stopping or talking to them.

They also suggest verifying the police officer by asking to hear their radio operator or asking to speak to the radio operator themselves.

Finally, the Met Police is advising people to shout out to a passer-by, run into a house, knock on a door, wave a bus down, or call 999.

The spokesperson said: “We completely hear the legitimate concerns being raised and we know women are worried. All our officers are concerned about the impact of these horrific crimes on trust in the police and we want to do all we can to rebuild that trust.

“It is unusual for a single plain clothes police officer to engage with anyone in London.

“If that does happen, and it may do for various reasons, in instances where the officer is seeking to arrest you, you should then expect to see other officers arrive shortly afterwards.”

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