05 Oct 2021
National Police Chiefs' Council Chair, Martin Hewitt, has welcomed the inquiry announced today into the issues raised by the conviction of Sarah Everard's murderer and set out what policing must do to rebuild women's trust.
National Police Chiefs' Council Chair, Martin Hewitt:
We need to understand what could have been done differently to prevent Sarah Everard’s murderer being in policing and the devastating harm he caused. But this is bigger than one man.
There are issues for the whole of policing that need to be examined and acted on, from vetting to professional standards, to how predatory or misogynistic behaviour is challenged. It’s right for these issues to be fully and independently considered, and we will support the inquiry’s work in every way we can.
We cannot and are not waiting for the findings of this inquiry to begin rebuilding women’s trust that police officers will protect and respect them.
Police chiefs are listening to women’s voices about what needs to change.
We’ll in part rebuild trust through the professionalism and public service of police officers and police staff in their everyday actions. I know they will strive even harder to show that Sarah Everard’s murderer does not represent policing.
This must be a turning point in how society deals with violence against women and girls. In policing we will do better at targeting the violent men who harm women and building the strongest cases we can that have the best chance of getting to court.
We will be honest with ourselves that misogynistic societal attitudes and behaviours exist in policing, and that it matters so much because of the powers we hold and because our legitimacy is built on public confidence.
As police leaders we need to make sure our values, leadership at all levels, vetting and other safeguards are strong to keep out people who don’t share our values and who pose a risk to the public. But it also means each of us in policing has a responsibility to call out, challenge and report concerning or misogynistic behaviour.
Police chiefs have been developing our strategy to improve the way we tackle violence against women and girls, and we will be working with experts in this space to make sure it is as strong as it can be, addresses recommendations from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services and drives the change that women want to see in policing.
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