LibLink: Wendy Chamberlain on need to tackle “serious and systemic” police failings

In an article for The House, Wendy Chamberlain, the only woman former Police officer in the Commons, says that the murder of Sarah Everard is a watershed moment to tackle serious and systemic failings at the heart of the Police. It’s a great follow-up to her interview on Sky News on Friday.

She describes how the abuse of power of Sarah’s murderer has led to a loss of trust in not just the Met, but Police across the country:

As a former police officer myself, I still carry the responsibility of my service with me long after I stopped wearing the uniform. Having served as a police officer does shape people’s opinions of you. At the time of my election in 2019, I viewed it as a way of demonstrating that I was someone to be trusted.

Couzens used and abused not only his position of power, but the notion of trust that Sarah placed in him as someone who wears the uniform with a duty to safeguard and protect.

That trust has been seriously eroded and damaged by this terrible crime. It is a shattering of trust that goes beyond the Metropolitan Police and applies to police services as a whole across the country.

So how is this to be fixed?

The government’s drive for 20,000 more police is all well and good, but they have to be the right people who are reflective of the communities they represent. Diligence must not be sacrificed in the pursuit of statistics.

There is also a distinct lack of a broader strategy when it comes to tackling violence perpetrated by men against women and girls, which is a pandemic in itself. Since Sarah’s tragic death, 80 women have allegedly been killed at the hands of men. At what point do we put our foot down and say enough is enough.

And she repeats calls for a Royal Commission on ending violence against women and girls:

That is why my Liberal Democrat colleagues and I have today called for a Royal Commission into male violence against women and girls. There hasn’t been a Commission this century, and given the Conservatives pledged one on crime in their 2019 manifesto, this would be a way for the government to demonstrate that this is a watershed moment.

For the sake of over 600,000 women sexually assaulted each year. For the sake of over 50,000 women raped last year. And for the sake of young girls who have the right to grow up not in fear, but in hope. The government owes it to them.

You can read the whole article here.

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  • Peter Martin 5th Oct '21 - 10:31am

    em> “…….a loss of trust in not just the Met, but Police across the country “

    This has been said a lot recently in connection with the Sarah Everard case but why was there so much trust in the police to begin with? Is there no awareness of how the Met routinely fitted up black people to make their crimes solved figures look good?

    Hopefully this isn’t to the extent that it used to be but we’d have to be somewhat naive to think it has stopped completely.

    There’re still these kinds of reports which often don’t receive the public attention they warrant.

  • Brad Barrows 5th Oct '21 - 6:15pm

    I agree there should be a Commission into the issue of male violence but its remit should be wider than that of male violence against women and girls – it should also deal with male violence against other men (which accounts for significantly more of the murders/killings each year.)

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