- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
People have taken to social media to voice their disbelief at the Metropolitan Police’s latest advice for women who may question whether a male police officer is 'genuine'.
On Thursday the Metropolitan Police published guidance after it has been asked for answers as to how it will prevent violence against women and girls and bolster trust in society after Wayne Couzens was sentenced to a whole-life prison term for the murder and rape of Sarah Everard.
The former police officer, who had been serving at the time of Everard’s murder, had finished his shift the morning of the 33-year-old's disappearance on March 3 and went on to rape and strangle the marketing executive, before burning her body.
An Old Bailey sentencing hearing on Wednesday heard how Couzens had used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to abduct Everard as she walked home through Clapham, London after visiting a friend.
‘The full horrific details of his crimes are deeply concerning and raise entirely legitimate questions,’ a statement from the Metropolitan Police begins.
In addition to publishing a list of measures the Met has introduced to tackle violence against women and girls, including deploying 650 new officers into busy places, it issued advice to women if they have concerns if an officer is a ‘threat’ or are unsure how to prove an officer is ‘genuine’.
According to the Met, ‘it is unusual for a single plain clothes police officer to engage with anyone in London’.
It you fail to see additional officers arrive to the scene then you should ask the solo officer questions such as ‘where are your colleagues?’ and ‘where have you come from?’
‘It is entirely reasonable for you to seek further reassurance of that officer’s identity and intentions,’ it notes, before advising women who believe they are in ‘imminent danger’ to find help by ‘shouting out to a passer-by, running into a house, knocking on a door, waving a bus down or if you are in the position to do so calling 999’.
Unsurprisingly, the guidance has angered many women and men who question the Metropolitan Police’s advice and what power a bus driver has in such a situation.
Reactivated my account to ask one thing, of @metpoliceuk and Cressida Dick, because young women are asking me the same: Can please advise them on how to know when an arrest is real. What do you have to say to them?#saraheverard
— Sophie Walker (@SophieRunning) September 29, 2021
Don't tell women to 'wave a bus down'.
Tell men to stop attacking women.https://t.co/wrhWHOF63V
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) October 1, 2021
'Wave a bus down' if you're being harassed or handcuffed by THE POLICE???? https://t.co/qzRv50NWQb
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) October 1, 2021
I’d love to know how women in rural areas are supposed to “wave down a bus”
Fingers crossed potential abductions happen at the two times a day a bus comes, eh?
— Emma Kennedy💙 (@EmmaKennedy) October 1, 2021
We want to know what the Met are doing to address the deeply rooted problems with violence against women within the force.
This completely derisory advice shows they’re still not taking it seriously.
And they wonder why trust is at an all-time low?https://t.co/sm3nRyeT4a
— Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP (@BellRibeiroAddy) October 1, 2021
The Met say women stopped by a lone police officer they don't trust can wave down a bus?
Has anyone in the Met tried to flag down a bus when they're not at a bus stop?
You're lucky if the driver stops and what if there are no buses.
— Lorraine King (@lorrainemking) October 1, 2021
"If you don't trust the officer, simply shout, wave down a bus or call 999" pic.twitter.com/YZgWhkZgyl
— Mike Holden 💙 (@MikeHolden42) October 1, 2021
"You don’t restore trust with victim-blaming and you don’t restore trust with preposterous suggestions that people run away if they’re not sure if it’s a bona fide police officer - or wave down a bus driver. What the hell is a bus driver going to do?" https://t.co/3arMDx41qi
— Jo Maugham (@JolyonMaugham) October 1, 2021
So the advice for women from the @metpoliceuk is to "Wave down a bus" if they don't trust a male officer!!! Have you EVER heard anything so bloody crazy! What if its 3 in the morning and there are NO buses?
— Lem-Sip 🇪🇺🍋😷🔬💉 (@LemSip27) October 1, 2021
Met Police issues advice to women to ‘shout or wave a bus down’ if they don’t trust a male officer
Will bus drivers now be issued with police PPE, will they have police training in the law and powers of arrest? Will their pay rise? Will busses have blues and two's
It gets worse
— sue#NHSLove💙💙💙#FBNHS (@SueSuezep) October 1, 2021
'It's her fault, she didn't wave down a bus' https://t.co/kxHvpMyjWm
— Claire Cohen (@clairecohen) October 1, 2021
Writer Terri White took to Instagram following the publishing of the guidance and wrote: 'Today’s briefings by the Met include telling us to flag down a bus, ask to see a warrant card (even though Couzens had one) and RUN AWAY from the police if we’re scared. So we’re to resist? Will we then get arrested? Tackled? Or tased? How will this disproportionately affect women of colour? [sic]'
Comedian Katherine Ryan replied to a news article about the advice: 'WTF?'
Following Couzens’ sentencing, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said she knows that a ‘precious bond of trust’ had been severed by Couzens and that he had ‘brought shame on the Met’.
Dick added that Couzens’ actions were ‘a gross betrayal of everything policing stands for’, before saying: ‘I am so sorry.’
Following the sentencing the Metropolitan Police announced it would no longer deploy officers dressed not in uniform on their own.
Wayne Couzens has been sentenced to a whole-life prison term today for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
📺 | Watch Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick's statement in full 🔽
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) September 30, 2021
An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) review of how Couzens became a Met officer has found that a vetting procedure had missed that his previous cars had been linked to allegations of indecent exposure. The review is ongoing.
On Wednesday, Sarah Everard’s mother Susan Everard delivered a victim impact statement before Couzens’ sentencing.
‘I am tormented at the thought of what she endured,’ she told the room.
‘In the morning I wake up to the awful reality that Sarah is gone. In the evenings, at the time she was abducted, I let out a silent scream: "Don’t get in the car, Sarah. Don’t believe him. Run!"' she added.
You can read Susan and her daughter Katie Everard’s statements here.
You Might Also Like