Cambridgeshire Chief Constable says residents may want officers to explain actions in light of Sarah Everard case

The Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police says some residents may wish officers to explain their actions in light of the Sarah Everard case, where a woman was murdered by a serving police officer.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 4:00 pm
Sarah Everard

Sarah Everard was walking home in London when Wayne Couzens - at the time a serving Met Police officer - abducted her, raped her and killed her. The Old Bailey heard he had stopped Sarah and handcuffed her under the pretence that she was breaking COVID rules.

Yesterday he was told he would never be released from prison.

Today the Met Police said people should challenge plain clothes police officers if they were stopped.

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When asked what the advice for Peterborough residents was, Chief Constable Nick Dean said: “The horrific case of Sarah Everard’s kidnapping, rape and murder has shocked and appalled everyone in policing and beyond.

“Wayne Couzens abused his position of trust in the most horrendous way imaginable and does not represent policing. We are here to protect the public and we are all disgusted by his actions.

“At yesterday’s sentencing the judge said he had ‘eroded the confidence that the public are entitled to have’ in the police. It is vital people feel that they can trust the police whenever they encounter an officer and we are doing all we can to rebuild that trust at every opportunity.

“There have been far reaching consequences as a result of this case, including significant concern among the public and a desire to know how to verify an officers’ identity.

“Police officers always carry identification and can be asked for verification at any time. Police officers should have no issue with providing that reassurance.

“It is extremely unusual for an officer in plain clothes to work alone. On occasions off duty officers do put themselves ‘on duty’ if they see something happening in front of them and it is only right that they act, however this should not detract from the public asking questions to verify identity and provide public reassurance.

“Following this case and heightened public concern, it is right that officers expect and understand that some people may wish to be further reassured of police actions. People may want officers to explain and reassure themselves who they are, what they are doing and why.”