Plainclothes officers to video call stations to verify their credentials when stopping women – Met police chief

Met Police officers out of uniform will video call station control rooms when stopping women, its chief has announced, as the force makes changes in an attempt to restore public trust in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.

Speaking on Wednesday, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced the launch of the force’s ‘safe connection’ initiative, which she said “allows a woman who is stopped by such a police officer immediately to have verification” that this person really is a member of law enforcement.

The Met chief said that “my plainclothes 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… which I hope will be one way people can feel reassured.”

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The verification check comes after a serving Metropolitan firearms officer, Wayne Couzens, used his warrant card and handcuffs to falsely detain Everard in March as she walked home from a friend’s house in South London, before he raped and murdered her.

Scotland Yard came under staunch criticism for its advice offered to women after Couzens was served a whole-life prison sentence late last month. The Met recommended that anyone who felt they were in “real and imminent danger” during an interaction with a plainclothes cop either flag a passer-by or call 999 to request that uniformed police come to the scene.

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The murder sent shockwaves across the country, with the Met chief admitting that Couzens’ actions meant that “public trust has been damaged,” and “people are rightly gravely concerned about what they’ve seen.” Some demanded Dick’s resignation, or for her to step aside from her role, including ex-Met Chief Superintendent Parm Sandhu and former acting leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman.

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