Sarah Everard: How do we know if police are legit?

Labour MP Jess Phillips said today that she would have got into Police Officer Couzens’ car, just as Sarah Everard did. Phillips said “almost anybody would” and she is right. Most police officers are honest, dedicated public servants who deserve our trust. But the statements by the Met saying that if we feel scared we should ask “very searching questions” and then if we aren’t satisfied scream, run away, flag down vehicles are all missing the point. How should we know when to feel that something isn’t right with an arrest?

Warrant cards differ across the country, so there is no standard design to check for. Police officers can perform arrests when off duty if they feel it’s merited (they are just then classed as going on duty).The lack of uniform, or even what they were doing moments before they stopped you isn’t definitive.

The Met suggest that the citizen could ask the officer to get a police operator onto their radio to verify the warrant card number. This is laughably easy to fake. Who would be able to recognise a real police radio versus a replica one with a collaborator at the receiver? It would be like a scammer who had cold called you offering to let you speak to his manager to verify he was legitimate.

People need to know that they can independently verify whether an officer is real or not, and the easiest way to do this would be via 999 (or perhaps a new, dedicated phone line). When a lone officer approaches a citizen and announces their intention to arrest or question, the citizen should be encouraged to dial 999 and ask for verification of that officer’s name, warrant card number, description and current location. The officer should wait a reasonable distance away so that the citizen is not made vulnerable when looking in their bag or coat for their phone. The citizen should also be allowed to ask for the arrest to be paused until other uniformed officers arrive.

It’s not only women who would benefit from being able to verify the legitimacy of a police officer before agreeing to go with them. Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups are disproportionately targeted by police for stops. LGBT+ people may feel extremely vulnerable if they’re alone and feel their identity may be a factor in the interaction. Disabled people may not be physically able to run away if a situation is dangerous. Having the reassurance that “the system” knows you are being detained might not save you from harm and won’t stop a legitimate arrest – but at least you know you’re creating a record. A paper trail for your family and friends to follow if something went wrong.

And if the check says the officer is not genuine or doesn’t want you to call to verify who he is, at least you now know you are in danger. I know it’s not much, but it might give enough warning to save someone’s life.

* Miranda Roberts is the Former Chair of Federal People Development Committee 2017-2020.

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41 Comments

  • John Marriott 1st Oct '21 - 5:50pm

    “How do we know that the police are legit?” What a damning question! If you can’t trust the police, who can you trust? What a goddamn awful state we have reached. I’m sorry, folks, but I really do blame social media!

  • Kevin Hawkins 1st Oct '21 - 6:23pm

    Sadly, I am not convinced that any changes to police procedure would have made much difference. The vast majority of rapists and murderers are quite capable of carrying out their terrible crimes without needing to possess a police warrant card. If Couzens had been kicked out of the police force (as he should have been for some of his activities such as exposing himself) he would simply have found another means of carrying out his attack.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 1st Oct '21 - 7:11pm

    @ John,

    Given the circumstances of this case, the number of serving police officers who did nothing despite the nickname he had attracted, and the appalling response of a series of senior figures in policing, are you really surprised that the question is being asked?

    And, for those of us of non-white origin in the cities, the idea that the police are wholly benign protectors of our freedom bit the dust long ago.

    But why not blame social media rather than the rapist and those that enabled him to hold a position of authority long beyond the point where he should have been allowed to remain a serving officer?

  • Cllr Tammy Palmer 1st Oct '21 - 7:16pm

    John m, should I trust the policemen that knew this monsters nickname was rapist and did nothing and laughed despite female colleagues expressing their concern, what about the policemen who forcibly held down women peacefully protesting at the murder of a young woman by a serving policeman, what about the policemen in his what’s app group now all being investigated for sharing sexually inappropriate images, what about the policeman sacked for sharing images of the bodies of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry. Should I trust in them? Forgive me, but frankly until privileged white men start being murdered by policemen the only thing I want your comment on is your unwavering support to end violence against women and girls

  • Tristan Ward 1st Oct '21 - 7:16pm

    Really good ideas from Miranda Roberts.

    But what dreadful situation for us to be in – and these suggestions will hardly help legitimate police officers arrest genuine criminals who will undoubtedly get to know and abuse such rights pretty quickly .

    What a dreadful state to be in.

  • The citizen should also be allowed to ask for the arrest to be paused until other uniformed officers arrive.

    From what I’ve seen around me, it is this, the lone office without an obvious buddy, not calling in and waiting for support, that would raise questions in my mind. However, once you’re at this point, I’m not sure other than “resisting arrest” what practical steps you could take to avoid being taken away by the lone officer.

    This case is deeply troubling.

  • Nonconformistradical 1st Oct '21 - 7:29pm

    Not necessarily to do with mysogeny or racism – but problems in the Met are not exactly new – e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Countryman investigation into 1970s police corruption.

    The Met didn’t exactly cover themselves with glory over Stephen Lawrence – murdered in 1993 so predating modern social networking.

    “and the appalling response of a series of senior figures in policing”
    And there’s Johnson telling us to trust the police! I’m sorely tempted to add something really rude but the mods will have me….

  • John Marriott 1st Oct '21 - 7:41pm

    Cllr Palmer,
    What makes you think that I am not appalled about what has happened to Ms Everard and all of those other young women, who have met their end at the hands of some depraved male? What makes you so righteous that a ‘privileged white male’ like me can’t forward an opinion as to why these distressing events are becoming more frequent? You mentioned what’s app. Isn’t that a part of social media?

  • Cllr Tammy Palmer 1st Oct '21 - 9:07pm

    John… how many times have you run home at night with your keys out ready to defend yourself from an attack. How many times have you had to feel grateful that you got home safely at night, when have you had to get off the bus/tube early because you didn’t feel safe, how many times have you had your breasts or crotch grabbed, your hair stroked, had someone follow you down the road making sexual gestures at you, how many times a month does your partner worry that you won’t come home after a late night meeting, when do you get blamed for being attacked/raped/murdered because you were out on your own/ drunk/ wearing headphones/ walking through a park/ wearing a skirt that was too short….you ask what gives me righteousness over a privileged white male – there is nothing righteous about being a woman when this is our life experience, your privilege is simply that you don’t have to live your life in the way we do because you are a white man. Right now we’ve had enough of men’s opinions.. you jeez to hear us, become ally’s a d support us – you do not criticise or attack our right to challenge you

  • In the past the organisations for which I have worked have often relief on the 101 police number to get if not immediate then fast support to our service users. Recent changes have resulted in the police refusing 101 requests from professional services, though they will still respond to the public, reason given as they get so many requests from professional agencies that they cannot respond and carry out their primary function.
    I think that if Miranda’s suggestion that women call 999 to check police credentials was implemented,we may have the police so inundated with calls that the people that really need emergency help would not be able to get through fast enough and we might have more not less murder.

  • The case is indeed extremely troubling, and answers are needed, possibly changes in a number of procedures even a ‘ root and branch reform, however it is also an extremely rare case non the less tragic and should never have happened.
    In my various roles over the years the services I have worked in have on occasion relied on police support, they have never let us down. On a personal level the police have supported my family very well on the three occassions that the family home was burgled.
    I have been stopped and searched by the police three times, including being stopped at York rail station as part of a random search under the terrorism act on the first anniversary of 7/7 ( long hair unshaven and rucksack) and I am fine with all of that. I’ve also been jumped on by the armed police when with a friend with a history of armed robbery ( they should have that at Alton Towers!!) I am fine with all of that, they can search me every day for all I care.
    Despite recent tragic cases, we should not forget that every day thousands of police officers potentially put their life on the line for all of us and do a very difficult job very well.
    Neither should we accept platitudes when things are clearly wrong.

  • Andy Boddington 2nd Oct '21 - 2:15am

    The comments on this article, all by men except for @Tammy, show the gulf in understanding between men and women about safety of women travelling alone and woman being approached by police officers. Just a reminder that we are principally talking about the safety of women here and it would be helpful if comments could reflect that. I am not suggesting that men don’t face threats or feel unsafe but this debate should be about women’s experiences and concerns.

    It would be helpful to have more comments from women so that we can all learn more about the threat and fear that some of us men don’t experience.

    One of the LDV editors

  • Jenny Barnes 2nd Oct '21 - 9:39am

    If you think that the mission of the police is primarily to keep the public safe, it’s quite clear that the Met have absolutely failed. No woman could feel safe being arrested by the police- I’ve read accounts of women being followed – kerb-crawled – by 2 uniformed officers in a squad car, and invited to get into the car. When contacting the police hq, they were told they could be charged with obstructing the police or resisting arrest.

    The Met have mutinied against their primary mission. When a mutiny like this happened in Nelson’s navy, the officers were all court martialled, and the men distributed round the rest of the fleet in small parties. Maybe that’s what’s needed here. They have clearly not learned from the Stephen Lawrence and all the other failures since.

  • The tactics that women use to protect themselves in public are so normalised that most of us do them automatically. Most men are probably completely unaware, and this post should be acting as a wake-up call to them.

    So what do I do? Some have already been mentioned – avoiding walking alone after dark, if I have to then keys in one hand, other hand in pocket holding phone, planning a route with good lighting. I also drive at night for short journeys, even though I know I shouldn’t use the car so much. When I get in the car I lock all the doors. I only use car parks at night that I know feel safe. I still get panicky if someone is behind me. Now as it happens I have never been approached at night, although someone did once try to get me into their car in broad daylight, but that doesn’t reduce the fearfulness.

  • This is at best a meaningless suggestion – at worst it helps the Met in spinning a narrative that Couzens was a rogue police offer and the rest of the system works.

    Couzens wasn’t a fake police officer. He was a serving officer, with a valid warrant card and had he been challenged his bona fides would have checked out.

    It doesn’t,. On the VERY same day as Couzens was sentenced the IPT issued it’s judgment saying that the ‘spycops’ saga wasn’t just down to a rogue officer and senior officers either knew and ignored it or were naive.

    It simply isn’t a defence to say the Met are doing a difficult job. What job they are doing they are doing badly. See also the Daniel Morgan inquiry. That didn’t just find evidence of corruption but had several pages of their report devoted to how the Met had obstructed their inquiry (some of which is laid at the door of the current Commissioner). That was an inquiry ordered by the Prime Minister which the Met had publically agreed to co-operate with.

    And look at the allegations about messages being passed between officers about the Sarah Everard case – which pretty much replicate the Nicole Smallman/Bibaa Henry cases referred to above.

  • Like Justin I’ve been stopped & searched by the police. But I am massively privileged – I’m white, male, middle class, and highly educated. Those were encounters with a very limited power imbalance.

    The idea that a young black man stopped driving home from work at 2am is engaging with the police on the same power level as I would be is a laughable one.

    But what should Lib Dems do? The answer lies in challenging – as Liberals should – the exercise of power over people. The does mean to an extent stopping being so flipping nice about things! The police – particularly the Met – have lost the right to be treated as ‘acting in good faith’. They needs scrutiny and root and branch reform. Fiddling at the edges won’t do. In the past it was said that we needed minority voices in positions of influence in power structures – well the Head of the Met is an openly gay women and the Home Secretary is a woman of colour. Hows that all worked out?

    If people want to sign this that’s one thing.
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/598224/sponsors/new?token=6O66Jh1DWfO7_1E7NArJ
    (How much effect that will have I don’t know but it’s something – ripples of hope and all that!)

    But Liberals could also promote movements which look to empower people to confront and challenge power when it is used to oppress such as SistersUncut who are putting together training on how/when intervening in police actions
    https://www.sistersuncut.org/2015/11/29/5-ways-male-allies-can-support-sisters-uncut/

  • Not to overdominate this thread (I am as you might have guessed probably more wound up by this issue than might be healthy!)

    How does verifying an officer is a real police officer help here?
    https://twitter.com/StevieeeWx/status/1251434819659206662

    “I will make something up… “Who are they going to believe, me or you?”

    By the way. He got a written warning.

  • Christopher Love 2nd Oct '21 - 11:46am

    In this particular case it was the car that was slightly wrong. Unmarked police cars have a concealed blue-light, which wd be activated to park and arrest like that. But against a police ID, a burly presence and an official set of words most of us wd, incl myself, have been deceived.
    That such a monster cd have persisted in the Met means, without doubt, that the Met’s culture is severely dysfunctional. Couzens is not even good at lying.

  • John Marriott 2nd Oct '21 - 12:10pm

    One suggestion was that, in extremis, you should “call to a passing bus”. At two in the morning?

  • Miranda Roberts 2nd Oct '21 - 12:52pm

    @Justin said “I think that if Miranda’s suggestion that women call 999 to check police credentials was implemented,we may have the police so inundated with calls that the people that really need emergency help would not be able to get through fast enough and we might have more not less murder.”

    Lone officer stops of lone women (or other people) should in theory be rare, and therefore not take up too much 999 call resource, but I did also say it could be that the Police set up a new specific number (say 333 or similar).

    @Mary, I agree, there are a whole host of things I do without even really thinking about them that are all around keeping me (or making me feel) safe. My husband does absolutely none of them and is occasionally puzzled to see me getting ready to go out alone. I think it is hard for a lot of men (even good hearted, Liberal men!) to comprehend the lengths women already go to every day to try to stay safe.

  • Miranda Roberts 2nd Oct '21 - 1:26pm

    @Hywel – I’m a bit unsure how to reply to some of your comments as I didn’t say some of what you seem to be reacting to? I agree with you that the system is not working. Couzens should have been fired long before he abducted Sarah, and if the vetting process didn’t red flag him, then it’s clearly in need of massive change too. The Met (and other police forces) need wholesale reform, including enormous changes in culture and practice.

    And I’m not trying to suggest that being able to have your arrest recorded, or the ability to verify if the officer arresting/detaining you is legitimate is a cure-all solution. The power imbalance between lone citizen and lone officer will still be there. The twitter link you gave is a different scenario with another bad cop doing something different. An idea that’s useful for one situation and not another doesn’t mean that it’s no use.

    This was my small suggestion of a couple of ideas for ways we could give women and other lone citizens a bit more power when they may be at risk. I wasn’t suggesting these ideas would solve all problems with policing or “bad cops”. And again, I think the Met’s response has been shameful and misses the point. They are the Police and are meant to keep us safe. We, the public, are not Police procedure experts and it isn’t reasonable or right to expect us to know what a real warrant card looks like, or a real police car radio or uniform. None of that can be put onto the public’s shoulders a) because it won’t work, and b) that responsibility does not belong there. The Met and other Forces need to take responsibility for sorting themselves out so that they can win back the public’s trust somewhat.

    But I also think we can simultaneously do more to give power to citizens by changing procedures and rights so that if a citizen feels unsafe they know they can ask to stop, they can summon other officers, they can ask for the details of what’s happening to be taken by the control room. None of those solves the problem, which is that we feel at risk and may be at risk when stopped by a lone Police officer. The Met needs to solve that.

  • Nonconformistradical 2nd Oct '21 - 3:01pm

    @Miranda
    ” I think it is hard for a lot of men (even good hearted, Liberal men!) to comprehend the lengths women already go to every day to try to stay safe.”

    Doesn’t this go to the heart of the problem? Failure by perfectly decent men to understand that some (many?) fellow men indulge in a toxic culture towards women?

    By the way – the mod’s count of posters’ gender at 2:15 am is not quite correct. The Nonconformistradical is a woman.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Oct '21 - 5:03pm

    The tone and content from Miranda, of this terrific article is to be welcomed.

    Tammy , please, in your rightly strong reasoning, avoid the reverse sexism, or racism of singling out people due to gender or colour. John is, as a senior in his latter seventies, as likely or more so, to be a victim of crime, and is vulnerable on the street, from muggers. He is , also, unlikely to ever be in a demographic that inflicts harm or violence.

    Lets join together, not label and vilify good people.

  • I suspect a lot of us girls – particularly if we are now of a certain age or even older – were brought up to believe that if we thought we were in any sort of difficulty we should find – and therefore trust – a policeman.

    It was probably never true that all of them were utterly decent. But watching over the years the extent to which more and more of them are not, is deeply dispiriting.

  • Jane Mactaggart 2nd Oct '21 - 9:39pm

    Nonconformist radical is just beginning to touch on the elephant in the room, which is that the real problem is not just one crap copper abusing his prerogatives, but male violence against women and girls in general. Before you get all hurt and say “not all men” defensively, think about it. You have heard the women on here explaining how much care they take to try and be safe when they go out. I don’t think most men have the smallest idea how much fear most women are in, a lot of the time. And while most men are not rapists or murderers, most of them won’t call out their mates when they sexually harass women or make sexist jokes. So the atmosphere for women is always one of objectification and uncertainty. If you want things to change, you have to change the mindsets and behaviour of MEN. This means educating our boys better, and policing your own behaviour and that of your friends. I know this is a very unwelcome truth to Liberal men, but someone has to say it. Either you are happy with a base level of violence and rape of women, (and if so, you should let us know, so we can decide what to do about it), or YOU need to change things. Do not blame women for our vulnerability when we do everything we can to mitigate it.

  • Nonconformistradical 3rd Oct '21 - 7:58am

    @Jane Mactaggart
    “the real problem is not just one crap copper abusing his prerogatives, but male violence against women and girls in general. Before you get all hurt and say “not all men” defensively, think about it.”

    I’d go further than that.

    How much of the violence evolves from something much less? e.g. office sexist banter – well the perpetrators might regard it as just banter while their women colleagues might have an entirely different view. Or male chit-chat suggesting that so-and-so (woman) is ‘fair game’?

  • Whilst taking the point of office banter, not sure how this will ever be eliminated it does seem to be part of human nature.

    I work in a sector which generally has a majority of women, certainly our service would divide 75% women to 25% men.

    The women are just as likely to engage in ‘banter’ as the men. At one point on during my first month at the service a group of women were openly rating the men and debating whether they were worth sleeping with. I stopped the conversation, as I would have done had it been a group.of men, the women were very surprised and said it was only a bit of fun and not serious. Though I guess from above had a group of men been having a similar conversation it would be viewed as significantly more dangerous and harmful?

  • Jayne mansfield 3rd Oct '21 - 10:26am

    @ Jane Mactaggart,
    Thank you for pointing out the elephant in the room. I think most women know it is there , but are often afraid to even articulate its presence, knowing there will be a tsunami of ‘whataboutery’..

    Banter? The excuse used by those who make totally inappropriate and hurtful remarks about others, sexist, racist, homophobic etc. and when called out for it, call it harmless fun.

    @Justin,
    The women you refer to, would not be the first members of their group to indulge in behaviour that damages themselves and their group. And that is what some of the ‘if you can’t beat them , join them by copying them’, behaviour of some women does, and it should be pointed out to them. They just fuel the ‘whataboutery’ brigade who have c;losed their ears and minds to the evidence of male violence to women, at the individual, the organisational and the societal levels and the underlying cause.

    It isn’t just a few bad eggs.

    @ John Marriott,
    The same cultural attitudes to women that underpin violence against women are apparent in cultures where the perpetrators don’t even have electricity, let alone social media.

  • Simon Robinson 3rd Oct '21 - 11:07am

    @Justin – agreed, I doubt you’ll ever eliminate banter, nor should you even try, because for most people, shared humour is an essential part of the human bonding experience. I think the key is rather, to educate people to be aware of and sensitive to the needs of those around them, so that they can stop/adjust their humour if anyone around is showing signs of discomfort. The key point is that people need to be inclusive, non-judgemental, and good-natured in any humour/banter they initiate. My own response (as a man) to the particular situation you describe would probably be to join in, perhaps by jokingly asking what my own rating is (but only if I can see that no-one around is showing any signs of discomfort at the banter)

    In terms of any link to sexual violence, My feeling is that what we need to focus on is rather, on some people (in particular, some men) having an attitude of not caring about the feelings of others, and thinking it’s OK to take whatever they want or act however they want, irrespective of what that may make other people feel. In some cases that may manifest as toxic banter, but I would suspect that more commonly it manifests itself as generally selfish behaviour, then leading (if unchecked) to loutish behaviour, then progressively to violent behaviour. Maybe I’m mistaken – I’m basically going by my life experience of observing lots of human behaviour, but my sense is that, if we want to end harassment/violence against women, then in the long run that’s the fundamental issue we need to tackle.

    Back to Miranda’s article… some interesting suggestions. I don’t know at the moment what the best response is – certainly, what happened to Sarah Everard is going to hugely impact how many people view the police, so we’re going to need to do something to reassure people when they have encounters with the police. One concern I’d have though is that anything that makes it harder for the police to arrest people will inevitably mean more criminals and thugs etc. escaping arrest and therefore going on to commit more crimes – and that will obviously increase, not decrease, the risk of women (and indeed, everyone) being attacked.

  • Changes in the toxic police culture need to come ‘from the bottom up’; not ‘from the top down’.
    Senior police officers right up to Chief Constables aren’t in the changing and rest rooms where racist, sexist and homophobic ‘jokes’ are the norm..Whenever groups of single sexes* get together (in this case men) an ‘all boys together’ culture tends to exist and it takes a very brave person (a veritable ‘Daniel’) to stand up and say “This is wrong”…

    What senior officers can do is to back those ‘Daniels’ instead of viewing them as ‘disruptive’..The number of women and ethnic minority officers involved in cases regarding discrimination should have highlighted this problem culture years ago..Sadly, it’s easier to allow perpetrators to quietly transfer (Couzens) or retire, and to pay-off the victims, than to tackle the real causes..

    I say single sex because I’ve seen the same sort of behavior on all women factory floors and at ‘hen parties’,,,

  • One thing Miranda touched on in her comment above is the power imbalance implicit in any interaction between a regular person and a member of the police – there’s another more fundamental one that’s often overlooked, which is the implicit power imbalance in any interaction between a man and a woman. This is one that a lot of people, particularly men, find difficult to approach, but it needs confronting and mitigating (by men) if this issue is to be dealt with in the way most people seem to mean.

    I get the impression that (some) men find confronting this difficult in the same way that members of other privileged groups find confronting their privilege difficult, in that most people see themselves as Good People, and the negative issue at stake as a Bad Thing, so as Good People they couldn’t possibly be doing the Bad Thing because that would make them a Bad Person, and they’re not a Bad Person because they’re a Good Person.

    One thing which I think more men could do (including me) is to remember this implicit power imbalance when interacting with women, particularly women who don’t know us.

    (aware I’m yet another guy commenting on this too)

  • @Jayne, my point is more that the ‘Joking / banter’ is more part of of human nature, rather than a minority of women letting the side down by indulging in copying male behaviour.
    Surely we all have witnessed this at school, college, work, out of work, even parents who feel they have brought up their children to treat everyone with will likely be shocked by how they speak and behave when out of site.
    Humans like talking about and sharing views on dating sex, who they do and don’t find attractive etc etc, for evidence see the plethora of literature, film and music.
    The question is, is there a line between what is acceptable and not acceptable ‘banter’ and also arguably in literature film and music, who decides ? and how is that decision upheld?

    Simon R, agreed.

  • Jackie Pearcey 3rd Oct '21 - 2:59pm

    During my working life I have seen companies in the private sector trying to deal with this situation. The early “no groping” rules clunked on language but since the early 1990s, many businesses have sincerely tried to stop the “canteen culture”. However this culture shift (not enough, but generally in the right direction) doesn’t seem to have happened in parts of the public sector, including the police and also parliament. One of the problems of the debate is that many MPs last worked outside of politics before the culture shifted, coming from an era where being able to fondle an attractive assistant was considered a perk. Plus too many MPs have never worked outside politics and seem to have picked up these toxic attitudes from older parliamentarians.

    A former colleague of mine mentioned that when she started her first job, in the typing pool of another company in the early 1980s, there was a sales rep who used to walk though the office and grope the breasts of the women in there. Any complaints were met with the reminder that he was their top sales rep and if they had a problem with it maybe they weren’t up to a modern working environment. She didn’t get over that as much as get more and more angry as the years went by, although she had left that workplace years back.

    However, what is hard to get across to men, well meaning and sincere men is how much women have to be on the alert at all times for potential threats. When we’re flashed in the street, on the whole we don’t insult or mock the flasher in case that triggers violence, so we have to appease and try to walk away. When somebody randomly in the street “offers” a shag it’s an apologetic refusal, which often doesn’t diffuse the situation. Many women have found themselves being followed by somebody screaming at them that they’re whores when we refused them and often taking a huge diversion in future to avoid that street in future. In fact I don’t know many women who haven’t had this sort of experience and each time we are encouraged to ask ourselves what we did wrong to end up in this situation.

    The attitude of mind of constantly assessing if a situation is likely to lead to sex-based violence is something which many men will never experience and with the best will in the World, it hard for many to begin to imagine.

  • Jayne mansfield 3rd Oct '21 - 3:51pm

    @ Justin,
    A pat on the back from me for stopping unpleasant behaviour. There are some women who indulge in so called ‘Ladette’ behaviour who need to have their attention drawn to the fact that objectifying men is no more acceptable than objectifying women. They just fuel the ‘whataboutery’ that women face when they try to change a culture with power relationships that work against them.

    Where I would disagree with you, is that the sort of ‘banter’ that you rightly objected to, is part of human nature. I would argue that it is a learned behaviour, and learned behaviour can be unlearned. Not every human behaves in this way, it is not instinctive, and even those of us who were brought up in a time where we exposed to unacceptable behaviour and language, have made the transition to unlearning it. without difficulty.

  • Nonconformistradical 3rd Oct '21 - 4:09pm

    @Jayne mansfield
    Yes – ‘Ladette’ behaviour needs to be called out as much as ‘Lad’ behaviour.

    I also think it is a learned behaviour and therefore our education system needs to play a big role in educating children to behave towards each other in a civilised fashion.

  • @Jayne thank you.
    However it is interesting that both you and Noncomformistradical it is interesting that you intimate that women engaging in ‘banter’ or more honestly crude discussions are simply copying bad male behaviour. If it isn’t inherent to at least some extent, and you may be right, then who or what is teaching males to behave in this way.
    Would you implicate, elements of literature,film and music in any way. In particular glam rock and gangster rap lyrics are often not espousing respect for women, but then likewise one could say music from artists such as Madonna and Cher also objectify women.
    One thing seems certain, if.not and inherent then the behaviour is engrained across, class ethnicity and culture.
    The causes are many and complex, the solution may need to be as multifaceted as the cause.

  • Jayne mansfield 3rd Oct '21 - 6:47pm

    @ Justin,
    Would I implicate elements that you mention. Yes I would, but I would call them symptoms rather than the underlying cause of the power imbalance between men and women across cultures, ethnicities etc. And I don’t disagree that there is a need for an immediate multi facetted approach.

    I apologise to John Marriott, if I seemed too dismissive of the role of social media, some of which is clearly damaging, and is one element in our society that can be, and clearly is damaging, to the development of healthy male female relationships.

    But I would ask, were past and also present Matriarchal, as opposed to Patriarchal societies just instances of aberrant human nature? What were the social conditions, some historical, that led to the existence of these societies?

    The Met response to women that a woman should question or run away is just another sign that they have no understanding of the problem women face, insofar as they believe that it is lone women who should take action rather than the organisation. If a sadistic man can’t lure a woman into his car, having persuaded her that he is a policeman and the reason is legitimate, he can use what is for many men, superior physical force to subdue her and bundle her into a car. The woman he finally decided would be his victim, would not stand a chance of survival whatever choice she made. And in the unlikely event that she did, he would soon find another female victim.

  • @Jayne, again thanks for your reply, it is the underlying cause / s then that need addressing. I will now stop posting, and look with interest at other posts, thanks to all who responded to my previous.

  • John Barrett 3rd Oct '21 - 9:36pm

    Apparently a bizarre set of instructions also appeared on the Met’s website, telling women how to avoid misunderstandings with “sole police officers”. It said people could ask officers they felt might not really be officers, “Where are your colleagues?” Or they could “speak through [the officer’s] radio to the operator” or, if they were really worried, dash into the street for the purpose of “waving down a bus”.

    Everything there implies that the problem is with people who are not genuine officers.

    The point is that Wayne Couzens wasn’t a fake police officer, however much the Met repeatedly and incorrectly referred to him as a “former” officer or an “ex”. He was a real one when he murdered Sarah Everard. He strangled her with his police belt and used his police handcuffs. He no doubt had genuine ID and everything else genuine police officers carry with them.

    Persisting with the debate about fake officers is clearly an attempt to deflect away from the problem that exists with real ones.

  • John Barrett 3rd Oct '21 - 9:52pm

    Police Scotland have also joined in the chorus about the problem being the identification of possibly fake police officers.

    Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said: “The appalling circumstances of Sarah Everard’s murder have deeply affected people and many are now understandably concerned about verifying an officer’s identity.

    We absolutely recognise our responsibility to introduce an additional means of verification to provide further reassurance to anyone, in particular women who may feel vulnerable, and who might be concerned if they find themselves in this situation.

    “The onus is on us, as a police service, to proactively offer this additional verification process to any member of the public who appears distressed, vulnerable or frightened.”

    It looks like the Police in Scotland are acting in the same way as the Met and not taking on board where the problem lies, which is with genuine police officers.

    If the issue of identification becomes the talking point, as it was on the Andrew Marr show this morning with Boris, there will be no real change in order to rid the force of those who should never have been admitted as police officers in the first instance, or who have committed crimes that should have justified their dismissal long ago.

  • Try ask a policeman, especially a lone, plainclothes one, to pause an arrest procedure while you verify their status, might work if the officer is genuine and understands you fears but could easily be seen as resisting arrest, itself an offence, and then the officer is entitled to use force.
    The only way anyone can be sure that the person trying to arrest them is genuine and entitled to carry out the arrest if if we can trust all police offices to act according to the law, without prejudice, without favour, without ulterior motives. It is up to the police service to make sure we can trust them, not to invent way we can check up on them.

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