Staffordshire Police implements new officer verification check following Sarah Everard murder

  Posted: 11.10.21 at 18:43 by Jack Lenton

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Staffordshire Police is now offering a new officer verification method in an attempt to reassure people in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent who have concerns about whether or not they are speaking to a genuine police officer.

The force says the measure has been introduced following a nationwide increase in public concern following the horrendous murder of Sarah Everard.

However, critics of the nationwide police response to the murder have pointed out that the killer - Wayne Couzens - was in fact a genuine police officer, meaning he would have passed a verification check anyway.

Recently Met Police head Cressida Dick, who remains under pressure to resign, had to defend advice to women to ‘wave down a bus’ if they are concerned they are being detained by someone impersonating a police officer.

Now in Staffordshire, the force says officers working alone will proactively offer to carry out a verification check via Staffordshire Police’s control room for anyone who appears to be concerned for their safety. Members of the public can also request for the verification check to be carried out.

As part of the check, officers will put their personal radio on loudspeaker to allow the officer or member of police staff working in the control room to confirm that the officer is who they say they are, that they are on duty and the reason the officer is speaking to the member of the public.

If an off-duty officer has to become involved in an incident, the officer will call 999 and allow the member of the public to speak to the control room on the phone. The force says uniformed colleagues will also be dispatched as quickly as possible.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Jennie Mattinson said: “The appalling circumstances of Sarah Everard’s murder have understandably generated concerns from members of the public about verifying the identify of police officers.

“The onus is on us, as a police force, to reassure the public of our commitment to, and ability in, keeping people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent safe.

“Our officers will not always be in uniform, but it would be extremely unusual for an officer to make an arrest whilst working alone. If they are, they should be calling for assistance with other officers arriving very soon to support them to help you if you are in need.

“By offering this additional verification check through our control room, we hope to be able to provide immediate reassurance to anyone who might be concerned if they find themselves being approached by a lone police officer.”

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