Lone officers will need to video call a supervisor if approaching a woman, Met officials announce

Lone Met officers will need to video call a supervisor if approaching a woman, the Met has announced today.

The Met has recently faced criticism in the wake of the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard after she was falsely arrested by her killer, former cop Wayne Couzens.

From today, lone plain clothed officers, including those reacting to incidents whilst off-duty, will have to provide verification of their identity and purpose by using a video call to a uniformed supervisor.

This is in addition to showing their warrant card to any lone woman they feel they need to engage with.

The uniformed supervisor, in one of the Met’s police operations rooms, will “conduct the necessary checks and provide reassurance that the officer is who they say they are and that they are acting appropriately”.

They will also need to ensure the encounter is properly recorded.

The Met have said that these video calls will be made using the officer’s mobile device, but on the rare occasion they don’t have their device, the officer will need to provide the woman with the telephone number to visually call the operations room directly.

All local operations rooms have been equipped with a special mobile device with access to a range of popular video calling services including FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom and Google Duo.

Women have also been advised to call 999 directly to ask for verification of an officer’s identification and reassurance from the police control room if they prefer this route – or if video calling is not available for any reason.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, Frontline Policing, said: “It is very unusual for a lone plain-clothed officer to engage with a lone woman.

“It is simply not how we usually operate but there are some rare circumstances where this could happen and we want to give all the reassurance we can.

“We know we need to regain women’s trust and we fully accept that the onus is on us to verify we are who we say we are and that we are acting appropriately – that’s why we’ve introduced this system.

“We hope that being able to see and speak to a uniformed colleague in what will very visibly be a police operations room, and know that there is a proper police record of the encounter, will provide the reassurance that we understand is necessary.”

Sarah Everard was “arrested” by Wayne Couzens before he kidnapped, raped and murdered her, court hears

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