Police Scotland has introduced a verification process for officers to ensure that all members of the public are reassured about their safety and to verify whether they are speaking to a real officer.
This is in response to the “understandable public concern surrounding Sarah Everard’s horrendous assassination”.
Officers on duty will now be able to conduct a verification check on anyone they encounter who seems to be concerned about their safety. A member of public may also request a verification check.
This new procedure, which was introduced on Saturday 2 October, allows for the officer’s personal radio and for a member of staff or officer in a Police Scotland Control Room for confirmation that the officer is real, on duty, and why they are speaking to the member.
Once the incident number is created, the control room can display it on the officer’s radio or mobile phone to confirm details of the broadcast message.
Will Kerr, Deputy Chief Constable, stated: “Our officers work on a daily basis across every community in Scotland with absolute professionalism to safeguard the vulnerable and keep people secure in line with our core values, integrity, fairness, respect, and a commitment upholding human rights. Our legitimacy and ability to protect our citizens and communities is dependent on the public’s consent and confidence.
“The shocking circumstances surrounding Sarah Everard’s death have deeply affected people. Many are now concerned about the identity of officers. Police officers will continue to approach anyone who is vulnerable or in distress to offer assistance and support.
“However, even though it is very rare for a single police officer in Scotland to need to speak with a member or the public in Scotland. We absolutely recognize our responsibility to offer additional verification to any person, especially women, who may feel vulnerable and might be worried if they are in this situation.
As a police force, we have the responsibility to offer this extra verification to anyone who is distressed, vulnerable, or afraid. If requested, police officers will provide additional information about their identity and reason for speaking to someone.