Hertfordshire police pledge to reduce violence against women and girls, and to challenge misogyny and misconduct within their own ranks
Chief Constable Charlie Hall has pledged: "No woman in Hertfordshire should fear approaching a police officer for help."
The promise from the county's top cop follows publication of a new framework from the National Police Chiefs' Council to reduce violence against women and girls.
It sets out a road map for consistent service from forces across the country, as well as a renewed focus on challenging perpetrators of violence both in public and within the home, and more work to challenge misogyny and misconduct within police ranks. Hertfordshire Constabulary will incorporate its measures into a force strategy due to be published early next year.
Chief Constable Hall said: "The murder of Sarah Everard earlier this year by a then-serving police officer and other recent events have shocked everyone and also damaged confidence in policing in some communities.
"These events in no way reflect on policing generally, however we also recognise there is work to do to rebuild public trust and confidence in policing, especially among women and girls.
"We want every woman and girl in Hertfordshire to know that approaching a police officer for help is always a safe thing do to. A report of violence or abuse will always be taken seriously.
"We will work with you to get you the right support and seek to bring to justice those who are responsible for abuse. Our officers also understand that they may need to go to greater lengths at times to verify their identity and reassure you their actions are bona fide.
"We recognise that we need to challenge and address inappropriate behaviour among police officers and staff, including misogyny and sexism where that is found. We work to educate officers and staff about attitudes through training and our internal code of ethics.
"Where necessary, our professional standards department will investigate wrongdoing by police officers too – we have shown we will not tolerate any such behaviour within policing in Hertfordshire."
Currently, a serving East Herts police officer is charged with 13 offences of serious sexual child abuse – including five of raping a girl under 13. All of the charges relate to the same alleged victim.
Ford, who has served with Hertfordshire Constabulary for less than two years, was arrested and charged following an investigation by Cambridgeshire police. . He has pleaded not guilty to them allHis trial is due to start next August.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire David Lloyd said: "Police legitimacy with the public is one of the foremost issues facing policing today, and we need to take steps both in Hertfordshire and nationally to address it.
"One of my roles is to ensure, on behalf of the public, that the constabulary properly undertakes vetting of officers and that disciplinary procedures are vigorously followed so that any issue is picked up at an early stage. The chief constable and I regularly discuss what needs to be done to ensure that confidence in the police is improved and maintained, and it will remain a high priority.
"My office has secured additional Home Office funding for Hertfordshire and has already begun working on projects to improve safety for women and girls across the county. In addition, I have ensured that Hertfordshire now has one of the most extensive and robust complaint systems in England and Wales to enable the public to raise concerns over officer conduct."