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‘Police bashing and top layoffs will not regain public trust’, says ex-justice minister

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‘Police bashing’ and firing of senior officers won’t restore confidence in police after Sarah Everard murder, says ex-lawyer Robert Buckland

  • Ex Attorney General Robert Buckland defended ‘vast majority’ of officers as ‘decent and committed people’
  • The kidnapping, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Officer Wayne Couzens has prompted a call for Met Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign
  • But public confidence will not be restored by ‘an officer’s resignation, however senior’ Mr Buckland wrote in the Sunday Telegraph










Public trust in the police must be regained after the murder of Sarah Everard – but it will not be achieved through “police bashing” or high-level dismissal – said former Attorney General Robert Buckland.

Everard’s kidnapping, rape and murder by serving police officer Wayne Couzens has led to calls for Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to resign in the face of the erosion of trust in the police.

But Buckland defended the “vast majority” of the officers as “decent and committed people.”

Ex Attorney General Robert Buckland Says ‘Police Bashing’ Won’t Restore Public Confidence

“Police-bashing…will not restore that trust, nor will a police officer’s firing, however high, for that matter,” Mr Buckland, who served as Attorney General for two years until last month’s reshuffle, wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.

The Welsh MP and former criminal defense lawyer said police knew the need to maintain the highest standards and not tolerate inappropriate or illegal behavior within their ranks is “in their best interest as much as it is in the public interest”.

He said that as the number of police officers continued to increase towards targets, it was important to note that “the aim is also to increase the speed and quality of policing.”

“The public should also know that the police, who are civilians in uniform police work with our permission, are really responsible for failure,” he wrote.

“While the operational independence of our police force is central, it should never be used as a cover for control. If confidence is to be regained, it must be understood that admitting mistakes and failures should be seen as a sign of strength, not weakness.’

Mr Buckland also last week labeled as ‘abhorrent’ the controversial police advice on how women can protect themselves if approached by a police officer.

The idea that the burden of safety should rest on ‘our wives, partners, sisters, daughters and friends’ has further diminished confidence in the force.

The kidnapping, rape and murder of Ms. Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens has raised questions about vetting procedures at the Met Police

The kidnapping, rape and murder of Ms. Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens has raised questions about vetting procedures at the Met Police

With Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has faced calls to resign over the erosion of trust in the police

With Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has faced calls to resign over the erosion of trust in the police

But he said the government and criminal justice agencies are working to restore the public’s faith, including by providing better support and funding to victims of rape and sex crimes.

Mr Buckland also noted that the Rape Review, which he published in June, “contains an action plan aimed not only at increasing rape prosecutions, but also changes in the way files are compiled, with greater challenge and accountability.” as part of the process, all aimed at increasing trust’.

He said that if anything positive could come out of Ms Everard’s “horrific” case, it “must be a police and criminal justice system that is faster, supportive, responsive and willing to yield.”

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