Advice from the Metropolitan Police suggesting women should report a bus if they have concerns when stopped by an officer has been “taken out of context,” the force chief said.
Dame Cressida Dick has said she is sticking to the advice issued by the Met last week despite much criticism.
Government ministers and Scotland Yard have been accused of having a deaf response to violence against women and girls after publishing a list of suggestions on what actions the public should take if they fear an officer will not act legitimately.
Responding to comments about the advice to report a bus, the Met Police Commissioner told the PA News Agency: “So I think this was rather taken out of context.
“I think we all realize that a lone woman approached by a man in civilian clothes posing as a policeman can be worrying and my officers, my male officers, understand that perfectly well.
“It will be rare for a woman to meet a single officer in civilian clothes. I can’t rule it out, but it will be a rare occurrence. The officer will be sensitive to the fact that the person may be affected.
She added that the officer in question will identify himself, will be happy to answer questions, but the woman in question could ask the officer to contact the control room and “in extremis, she may wish to ask another help “if she’s still worried.
“I want to stress that the vast majority of my police officers are good people,” Dame Cressida told PA.
“They do their best in sometimes difficult circumstances… they will want to help the woman feel safe and comfortable in this encounter.
Baroness Nuala O’Loan, whose Daniel Morgan murder investigation concluded the Met was “institutionally corrupt,” added her voice to the wave of criticism on Monday, saying the advice to stop a bus was ” ridiculous ”.
Speaking to Radio 4’s World At One, she said, “If I was alone and in the kind of situation Sarah Everard was, I think I would be scared. I think if my fear was not reassured very quickly, I would dial 999.
“This girl had nowhere to go, nowhere to go, no bus to flag down, and he took her. So that leaves women in a very, very vulnerable position. “
Asked whether she trusted the Met to resolve the issues raised by the Everard affair, the Baroness said her investigation highlighted issues with the verification, anti-corruption and ethical culture of the force, but members “did not see immediate action.”
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