What happened with Sarah Everard is no news to anyone in the world. The incident has shaken up public trust not only in the MET police, but also in other regions of the world. Considering this, the MET police have come up with a few new initiatives to rebuild the lost trust in the public.
Sir Stephen House, Deputy Met Commissioner, following the sentencing on Thursday said:
We know we have to go further to achieve trust and to prove the identity of plain-clothed officers. And we are prepared and keen to do that.
Further, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick also admitted that a precious bond of trust has been damaged and confessed:
This man has brought shame on the Met. Speaking frankly as an organization, we have been rocked.
Plain clothes officers in pair
Following Wayne Couzens' sentencing, the Metropolitan Police have stated that they will not deploy plain clothes officers on their own. Sir Stephen House informed on Thursday:
We will not operate plainclothes officers on their own. If we do use them, they will be in pairs.
However, in real life, there might be scenarios where it is possible that the pair might split up, but in every case, the police will try to follow the rule. He further went on to admit that a warrant card alone may not be enough to persuade all members of the public that the holder is a genuine police officer.
Producing a warrant card and saying ‘I’m a Metropolitan Police officer’ may not be enough in certain circumstances. We are instructing our officers, the policy going forward will be that they must facilitate a greater trust.
In case it is necessary, the police officers will also have to call the control room and confirm their identity for a civilian who doubts their identity.
650 new officers to protect women
In the aftermath of Sarah Everard's murder, the Metropolitan Police Department has also committed to hire 650 extra officers and expand patrols to better safeguard women and girls. Furthermore, the police have stated that it will release a new plan for combating violence against women and girls, laying out how it will prioritize action against sexual and violent predatory offenders.
The 650 officers will mostly be deployed in areas where women feel like they lack the confidence and safety to roam around. Recent cases including Sabina Nessa have probed the police to take such steps. A Met Police spokesperson acknowledged:
There have been other horrific murders of women in public spaces, including the killings of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, and very recently of Sabina Nessa.