New police officer verification process introduced from today in Avon and Somerset

From today, Avon & Somerset Police are introducing a new officer verification process for members of the public who would like to confirm the identity of any officer in the force that they come into contact with.

The announcement comes after Deputy Chief Constable Nikki Watson said last week that she was “dismayed and outraged” at the damage caused to the public’s trust in police officers following the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Met officer.

In a statement today the police said:We fully recognise the onus is on us as a police service to reassure people who have concerns about lone officers and the reason for their interaction with them.

“As such, all our officers will provide their name and collar number to anyone who asks and will call the control room on their police radio asking an operator to confirm their identity and location, putting their radio on loudspeaker so the member of the public can hear the response.

“As well as verbally confirming the officer’s identity, the control room operator will also send a reference number to the officer’s radio which the member of the public can visually check.

“All officers are equipped with body-worn video cameras and they will also make clear to people it is switched on and recording. Officers are unable to edit or wipe footage from these body-worn cameras.

“Of course, if the member of the public prefers, they can also call the control room themselves on 101, or 999 if they feel in danger. The same verification process will be then be followed, with a reference number being provided to the caller and sent to the officer’s radio.”