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7 March, 2023

Commissioner Zoe responds to the further sentencing of Wayne Couzens

Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe
Commissioner Zoe responds to the further sentencing of Wayne Couzens on 06.03.2023 and reflects on what needs to be done to encourage public trust and confidence in Police services.  

“My role as Commissioner is to hold police and fire services to account for the delivery of their operation services which ensure women, girls and everyone living in York and North Yorkshire are safe and feeling safe.  

“The further sentencing of Wayne Couzens yesterday shone a huge light on the traumatic and disturbing attacks on women that took place during his time as a serving Officer, without repercussions.  

“Police Forces across the country need to be prioritising the identification of perpetrator behaviour, to be able to cut it off before it grows roots and embeds itself in what should be a safe environment. 

“I stand by all the brave women speaking up about their horrifying experiences and my thoughts will always be with the families who have had their daughter, mother, sister or friend taken away from them by a predator.  

“Within my partnership Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy there is already work taking place in North Yorkshire to further educate police staff, have the right people in place and set clear principles when it comes to tackling perpetrator behaviour and supporting victims.  

This includes: 

  • Trauma-aware approaches are included in training courses for sexual offences, child protection and domestic abuse investigations and victim interview skills undertaken by North Yorkshire Police. 
  • A Specialist Stalking Team within North Yorkshire Police was established last year   
  • North Yorkshire Police have launched the Pathways App to increase officer knowledge of support services and referral pathways for victims 
  • North Yorkshire Police have adopted the Safe Lives Domestic Abuse Matters Change Programme which included establishing a network of 84 Domestic Abuse Matters Champions within North Yorkshire Police 
  • Subject matter experts in child sexual and criminal exploitation, domestic abuse, missing persons, and child protection provide training to new recruits, front line officers and newly promoted sergeants within North Yorkshire Police. 
  • IDAS worked with North Yorkshire Police to inform their Domestic Abuse Pledge launched earlier this year to support officers or staff who are victims of Domestic Abuse 
  • My Office has completed research into perpetrator programmes and interventions available and delivered nationally, including those for High Risk and/or repeat perpetrators of Domestic Abuse and online sexual offending.  

 “Women and girls need to be listened to, they need to feel safe wherever they are and public trust and confidence in police services shouldn’t need to be in question – but unfortunately it is.  

“I continuously want to know how the public feel about these issues and so last year I launched a survey to gauge the level of public trust and confidence in North Yorkshire Police, which remains open and has already received 667 responses, 273 of whom are female. This feedback is helping to influence my wider work to promote change, ensure accountability and spread best practice and high standards of Police service.” 

The Commissioner’s Public Trust and Confidence Survey can be completed on her website: https://bit.ly/TrustConfidence 

“I remain committed to the safety of women and girls and pledge to make a difference as Commissioner and Victims Champion. The public can find out more about the work I am doing in North Yorkshire to address violence against women and girls here: www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/womenandgirls/vawg_update