Since Sarah Everard’s body was found in Ashford, Kent, March of this year, and former police officer Wayne Couzens was charged with her murder, discontent with policing in the UK has continued to grow. With yet another case of oppressive violence, rooted in sexual and gendered hierarchies, the public have become disillusioned.
Over the last few weeks, while Couzens was being sentenced, another young girl was murdered; this time, Sabina Nessa. The reaction of the police in both situations have done them no favours in the eyes of the public and questions surrounding the trustworthiness and ethics of policing have been brought to the forefront.
In the wake of Couzens’ sentencing, it was revealed that he used his Metropolitan Police issued warrant card as a means of kidnapping Everard. Scotland Yard, whilst attempting to acknowledge the erosion of public trust in the police, released a statement to women and those at disproportionate risk of gender-based violence stating that if they were stopped by a lone plain-clothes officer they could “wave down a bus” for help.
It speaks volumes that when the very institution that is supposed to protect people fails to acknowledge the insidious structures that have allowed people like Couzens to commit offences. The rejection of responsibility in statements like this also works to push a victim-blaming narrative onto those who experience this kind of violence and harassment, similar to previous statements which have advised women to travel in gr