Police Scotland announce officer verification checks
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POLICE Scotland have announced the introduction of a simple officer verification process to assure members of the public that they are being spoken to by a genuine police officer working alone.
The announcement follows widespread public concern surrounding the brutal murder of Sarah Everard in London.
Will Kerr, Deputy Chief Constable of Police Scotland, said: "Public confidence and consent is critical to our legitimacy, and our ability to keep our communities and citizens safe.
"The appalling circumstances of Sarah Everard's murder have deeply affected people and many are now understandably concerned about verifying an officer’s identity.
"However, although it is rare for a lone police officer to have to speak to a member of the public in Scotland, 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. Police officers always carry photographic identification and will be happy to provide further reassurance about who they are and their reason for speaking with someone if requested."
All on duty officers working on their own will now offer to issue verification for anybody they come across who appears to be concerned for their safety. Members of the public can also request the completion of this verification check.
The new process was introduced on Saturday, October 2. It will allow for an officer's personal radio to be put on loudspeaker for an officer or member of police staff in a Police Scotland Control Room to confirm their identity and that they are on duty.
The Control Room will then create an incident number which can be displayed on the officer’s mobile phone or radio to confirm the broadcast message details.
In situations involving lone off duty officers, officers have been instructed to to call 999 and allow members of the public to speak to the Control Room on the phone. Officers in uniform will also be sent as quickly as possible.