Scotland Yard will deploy undercover Met officers outside bars and clubs in a bid to identify predators and ‘reduce violence against women and girls’
- The Met Police will deploy undercover police officers outside bars and clubs
- The new move comes in a bid to reduce violence against both women and girls
- The officers will work in pairs and will not go inside venues, it was confirmed
- It comes after Wayne Couzens staged a fake arrest to kidnap Sarah Everard, 33
Scotland Yard will deploy undercover police officers outside bars and clubs in a bid to reduce violence against women and girls, it has been revealed.
The Metropolitan Police unveiled the move on Wednesday as part of a wider action plan, stressing the plain-clothes officers will operate in pairs and will not go inside the venues.
It comes after Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced last month that undercover officers will video-call a uniformed sergeant to prove their identity if they ever need to stop a lone woman.
Concerns were raised after serving officer Wayne Couzens staged a fake arrest to kidnap, rape and murder marketing executive Sarah Everard, 33, while she was walking home in Clapham, south-west London.
Advice from the force for women who feel unsure about someone claiming to be a police officer to flag down a passing bus or run into someone’s house was heavily criticised.
On Wednesday, Dame Cressida, 61, met with community groups from Lambeth and Southwark to discuss the force’s plans to tackle violence against women and girls, boost the number of criminals brought to justice and also tackle sexual misconduct and domestic violence by its own officers and staff.
Scotland Yard will deploy undercover police officers outside clubs in a bid to reduce violence against women and girls. Pictured: Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick
As part of the plan, the Met will pilot a scheme in the two boroughs where teams of plain-clothed and uniformed officers will be deployed together to identify predators near pubs, bars and clubs.
The idea is the undercover officers identify ‘anyone who may be displaying predatory behaviour’ in public spaces and ask uniformed colleagues to step in when needed.
Force chiefs have already deployed 650 officers into new town centre teams while patrols in open spaces and at transport hubs have been increased.
Dame Cressida said: ‘This plan details how we will do more and better to keep women and girls safe.
‘It brings together all of our work to prevent male violence against women and girls, in public spaces as well as domestic settings and online; to target perpetrators, and with the wider criminal justice service, to improve outcomes for victims.
‘We will increase officers’ skills and maximise the impact of key units such as our predatory offender units, town centre teams, and other specialist units, and further improve digital investigation, intelligence and the quality of case files.’
The Metropolitan Police unveiled the move as part of a wider action plan, stressing the plain-clothes officers will operate in pairs and will not go inside the venues (stock image)
Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced last month that undercover officers will video-call a uniformed sergeant to prove their identity if they ever need to stop a lone woman
‘We want the public’s views and will update the plan following this engagement.’
Following the murder of Miss Everard, it was announced that undercover officers will video-call a uniformed sergeant to prove their identity if they ever need to stop a lone woman.
Scotland Yard ended a policy of allowing plainclothes officers to patrol alone after Couzens used it to stage the arrest of Miss Everard on March 3.
Couzens used his job, police-issued badge, belt and handcuffs to coax Sarah Everard into his car in London before raping and murdering her. He then set fire to her body in Kent woodland.
Couzens was sentenced in September, with his whole-life term being the first imposed for a single murder of an adult which was not committed in the course of a terror attack.
But a Court of Appeal official confirmed Couzens has lodged an appeal against his sentence, saying: ‘An application (for permission to mount an appeal against sentence) has been lodged.’
Parm Sandhu, who left the Met Police two years ago, told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: ‘I think that women would hesitate now to get in a car with a lone police officer who’s not in a uniform.
‘I’ve been contacted all morning by other women to say ‘what should we do’?
‘My advice is – and I’ve said this to my own family members is – if you’re stopped by a lone police officer, comply, check that they’ve got body-worn video, if you’re unhappy, phone up 999 and say I’m unhappy and I’m scared.
‘Do not get into a car unless it’s a marked police vehicle, and insist on them calling another officer or transport so that you can get into a marked police vehicle.
‘Police officers can’t not arrest women – they still have to arrest women who are on their own who are committing crimes. But, we now need to build in this extra issue, this extra precaution just to make people feel safe and secure.’
Meanwhile, nightclubs across the country have introduced drink covers after reports of victims being injected amid concerns over a spiking ‘epidemic’.
Serving officer Wayne Couzens staged a fake arrest to kidnap, rape and murder marketing executive Sarah Everard, 33, while she was walking home in Clapham, south-west London
Following the murder of Miss Everard (pictured), it was announced undercover officers will video-call a uniformed sergeant to prove their identity if they ever need to stop a lone woman
Nightclubs across the country have introduced drink covers as another spiking victim reported being injected while out with friends, as thousands of campaigners boycotted bars in cities across the UK last night.
National police figures confirmed there have been almost 200 confirmed cases of drink spiking in September and October alone, with 24 reports of ‘spiking injection’.
Britain’s biggest nightclub chain Rekom UK, which runs more than 40 venues across the country, announced plans to introduce drink covers and body searches in response to growing concerns over a spiking ‘epidemic’.
Durham’s Klute nightclub has also taken similar measures, writing on Facebook: ‘Customer safety is our number one priority, so we will now be supplying drink covers for anyone that requests one’.
The Girls Night In movement saw women and men avoid going out to bars and clubs last month in Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol as they demanded better safety measures for customers.
Hundreds of cases, including drink spiking and injections, have been reported in recent months, causing growing concerns of a spiking ‘epidemic’.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said there have been 198 confirmed reports of drink spiking in September and October across various parts of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, plus 24 reports of some form of injection.
Constable Harwin, said: ‘We have now had responses from all forces across the UK in relation to incidents involving some form of injection, with a total of 56 confirmed reports from across September and October.
‘Police forces are investigating incidents and continue to work with pubs and clubs to increase searches and guidance to staff. We will continue to analyse the reports and work with police forces, plus other law enforcement partners including the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs), as investigations develop to build a problem profile and determine any further action by police or venues.
‘We would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim or witness to spiking, in any form, to contact their local police force. Any reports of spiking will be investigated and taken seriously. You should try and report it to police as quickly as possible to help officers carry out tests and gather the best evidence.’
According to the US National Center for Biotechnology Information Rohypnol and GHB are two of the most prominent ‘date rape’ drugs used by criminals.
According to the NCBI, with GHB, having as little as 2g of the drug – which is often a powder that can be mixed in an alcoholic drink – can result in deep sleep within minutes.
The half-life of the drug is 27 minutes and is almost impossible to detect after 96 hours.
Experts warn that Rohypnol is also a powerful sedative with legitimate uses as a pre-anaesthetic or a sleeping pill.
Used as a date rape drug, it can start affecting a victim within ten minutes and reaches a peak some eight hours later.
It comes after national police figures confirmed there have been almost 200 confirmed cases of drink spiking in September and October. Pictured: Anti-spiking protestors in Manchester
It is colourless, odourless and tasteless and causes sedation or euphoria within 20 to 30 minutes of ingestion.
Last month, it was also reported that a new emergency number to help protect lone women could be in operation by Christmas.
The ‘walk me home service’ is being developed in response to public outrage over the murder of Sarah Everard.
It would allow the vulnerable to have their journeys tracked, triggering an alert if they failed to reach home in time.
Priti Patel has approved the proposal submitted earlier this week by BT, which has run the 999 service for 84 years.
In a letter to the Home Secretary, chief executive Philip Jansen said technology should be used to tackle male violence.
He said it might cost as little as £50million and could be up and running by Christmas.
Miss Patel said last month: ‘This new phone line is exactly the kind of innovative scheme which would be good to get going as soon as we can. I’m now looking at it with my team and liaising with BT.’
Users would download a mobile phone app and enter their home address and other favourite destinations. Before a journey they would call or text 888 – or initiate the app – giving an estimate of how many minutes they expected to take.
The journey would be tracked by the phone’s GPS system with the app sending a message to check the user had got home.
A failure to respond would trigger calls to emergency contacts and, finally, to the police.
Mr Jansen said the non-profit service could be used by anybody who feels vulnerable when walking home and not just women.
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