Former Notts Police chief says it has ‘taken death of white woman’ for trust in policing to be addressed

A former Notts police chief has claimed it has taken the death of a white woman for the issue of trust in policing to be addressed.

Sue Fish, the ex-chief of Nottinghamshire Police, also said every woman she knows would have got into the car with the Metropolitan Police firearms officer who used his warrant card to kidnap Sarah Everard and then raped and murdered her.

Government ministers and Scotland Yard have been accused of having a tone-deaf response to violence against women and girls after a string of suggestions over what action the public should take if they fear an officer is not acting legitimately.

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Ms Fish told BBC Breakfast: “I think pretty much every woman that I know, and certainly me, would have got into that car with Wayne Couzens.”

She said failing to do so means the offence of obstructing justice has been committed, as she warned there is a “real imbalance of power” in terms of a police officer versus a member of the public – particularly a woman on her own.

Ms Fish added: “But also we think about communities of colour, the black community in particular, and this has been a significant issue.

“Trust (in police) in the black community has been poor to non-existent for many years, and yet it’s taken the death of a white woman to address, well, start to address, this issue, this very fundamental issue of trust in policing.”



Photo of Sarah Everard issued by the Crown Prosecution Service
Photo of Sarah Everard issued by the Crown Prosecution Service

Ex-PC Wayne Couzens 48, was handed a whole life sentence at the Old Bailey on Thursday by Lord Justice Fulford, who said his “warped, selfish and brutal” offences had eroded confidence in the police.

The judge said he had been planning for at least a month before abducting Ms Everard, 33, as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.

Metropolitan Police firearms officer Couzens, who had been “hunting” for a victim, used his warrant card and handcuffs to snatch the marketing executive off the street using Covid lockdown rules to make a false arrest.

Police have come under fire for suggesting women should flag down a bus if they have concerns when stopped by an officer in the wake of the murder.

Other advice – including shouting to a passer-by, running to a house, knocking on a door, or calling 999 – was also met with heavy criticism, with one MP branding it “derisory”.

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