London police fight loss of confidence after officer kills woman – .

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London police fight loss of confidence after officer kills woman – .


LONDON (AP) – Police in London were desperate to win back women’s trust on Friday after evidence presented in court showed that an officer on duty used his post to kidnap, rape and murder a marketing official while ‘she was walking home from a friend’s house.

The Metropolitan Police Department has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a statement advising women and girls how to protect themselves if they are suspicious of officers stopping them on the streets.

Thursday’s statement came after evidence presented during Wayne Couzens’ conviction showed that he used his police identity to arrest Sarah Everard, 33, on March 3, 2021, then handcuffed her, threw her to the side. back of a car and had driven her to a remote location where he raped and strangled her. Suggestions that past offenses could have been overlooked have fueled outrage.

“The gruesome details of his crimes are deeply concerning and raise very legitimate questions,” the department said. “We fully hear the legitimate concerns raised and we know women are concerned. All of our officers are concerned about the impact of these horrific crimes on confidence in the police, and we want to do everything we can to restore that confidence. “

Couzens, 48, was sentenced this week to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to the kidnapping and murder of Everard. Confidence in the police force’s ability to protect women was further shaken by the murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, 28, who was killed on September 17 as she walked through a south London park to meet a friend.

The department has announced that it will soon release a new strategy to combat violence against women.

In response to the Couzens disclosures, police stressed that it was rare for a single officer in plain clothes to interrogate a woman and that if that happened, other officers should arrive soon after.

It is “entirely reasonable” for women in this situation to seek assurances about the identity of the agent, the department said. Women should ask the officer “research questions” about the absence of other officers, why the officer is in the area, and exactly why they are being arrested.

If, after doing so, a woman still feels in danger, she should shout at others in the street, knock on doors, wave at a passing bus, or call 999, the emergency telephone number of the city. Britain, police said.

But British media echoed out in outrage over what many saw as a muted response amid long-standing concerns that police have not made it a priority to investigate, prosecute and prevent crimes against them. women.

Lawmaker Jess Phillips, spokesperson for the opposition Labor Party on domestic violence and protection, said authorities need to develop a comprehensive strategy to protect women, not ask them to do more to protect themselves.

“I could yell, if I’m being honest, about the amount of stuff women are told to do,” she told the BBC. “Sarah Everard was keeping herself completely safe. She did exactly what any woman would do, and yet it happened to her. The onus is on the Metropolitan Police to do better.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the public should continue to trust the police, he acknowledged that there must be changes in the way the criminal justice system responds to crimes against women.

“There is a problem with the way we deal with rape, domestic violence, sexual violence and the way we deal with complaints from women and girls,” Johnson told reporters.

Johnson said he had convened a task force to streamline the investigation and prosecution of women’s complaints.

But Aisha K. Gill, professor of criminology at the University of Roehampton, expressed frustration at the continuing interim response to the problem, saying it was time for a systemic overhaul of the criminal justice system so that the police make it a priority to fight against violence against women.

“It has to be in the foreground,” she said. “It’s gender-based terrorism. It happens every day in our homes, in our streets, and we have to buckle up and make sure another woman doesn’t die this way again. ”

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