In the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder, the founder of the BE LADS campaign has sought to find out what rights the public have when dealing with the police in Guernsey.
“After the tragic case of Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving police officer in 2021, and the recent publication of the Casey Review – which labelled the MET Police as institutionally misogynistic, racist and homophobic, I wanted to do something to help islanders who might be nervous about interacting with the police,” said Poppy Murray.
She approached Bailiwick Law Enforcement with some questions about people’s rights when interacting with the police and the response she received helped show that “they genuinely want islanders to feel safe and to trust that our local police officers are here to help us”.
She developed the following infographic from the data she receivied:
Deputy Chief Officer Ian Scholes said Guernsey Police “want to do our best to ensure that the Bailiwick community feel safe when dealing with our officers”.
“No police service is immune from the potential that an officer might break the trust placed in them, so it is important that any such incident is dealt with swiftly and robustly. Policing by consent is a well-established principle that we live by, and requires transparency about police powers, the integrity of officers in exercising those powers and their accountability in doing so.”
He said if a member of the public is ever concerned about the motives of a police officer they should call the police station – 222222 – to check the officers identity and their motives.
He said officers will rarely transport a person who has been detained on their own and emphasised that “our police officers must act within certain parameters, and they must, as obvious as it might sound, operate within the law”.
Deputy CO Scholes said: “The bottom line is that it is a priority for us to continue building the trust and confidence in Guernsey Police by working with the public. We hope this is evidenced by our ongoing, extensive engagement with our violence against women and girls strategy – which is both inward and outward facing – and our work with the third sector in this area and others. But we also hope it will be evidenced in the work we will be doing in the coming months and years.”
In conclusion, Ms Murray said its hugely important for everyone to know their rights.
“Sarah Everard was in no way at fault for trusting Wayne Couzens; it is critical to understand that she did what any of us would have done. If Sarah had known at the time that a police officer is not allowed to transport you without assistance, or had known she could call her local police station to confirm his identity, perhaps the situation may have played out differently. I hope that islanders will be reassured in knowing their rights."
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