A statement from Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods in response to the Sarah Everard case
Main article content
Greater Manchester Police Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods said: "My thoughts and those of everyone at Greater Manchester Police go out to Sarah Everard's family and friends who have faced unimaginable pain as a result of Wayne Couzen's despicable crimes.
He committed a horrific and unforgiveable act and I know every officer across this force is disgusted and angered by his actions.
"I absolutely understand that the public will now ask questions about the integrity and trust they place in us, as police officers. I know all of our officers will feel this burden heavily, and we are determined to gain back that trust.
"My job, and that of every police officer, is to keep the public safe. We want all members of our community, especially women and girls, to feel they are not at risk of harm when simply walking the streets of Greater Manchester and going about their daily lives.
"Let's be clear - this not the responsibility of women, but that of us as law enforcers, the government and as a society to prevent and target these offenders from committing these crimes. This is an issue for us all to take action against and victims should not shoulder the burden. As a male police officer, I want to do more to stop these offenders before they commit a crime.
"Long-term we have worked together with the Mayor's office to create a Gender-Based Violence Strategy, which involves a 10-year plan to tackle gender-based violence issues head-on across Greater Manchester.
"But more immediately, we know we have work to do to ensure people trust our police officers. I'd encourage anyone who engages with our officers to feel comfortable asking to see their warrant card for identification, respectfully requesting them to use their radio to contact a colleague or the control room to verify they are acting in an official capacity, or even dialling 999 if they feel something is not right.
"I have today reminded officers of our duty to do more to reassure the public, particularly women and girls, that we are here to protect. Our officers will expect this, and will be supportive of those who wish to be further reassured.
"We are committed to make sure incidents like this absolutely do not occur. Women's safety is a top priority and something we will continue to take incredibly seriously."