WATCH: Suffolk police chief on women's safety

Suffolk Constabulary chief constable Steve Jupp. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Constabulary Chief Constable Steve Jupp - Credit: Archant

Suffolk's police chief said the force feels "deeply wounded" by the actions of Wayne Couzens and is focusing on regaining trust within communities. 

In an interview with this newspaper, Chief Constable Steve Jupp outlined the impact of the Sarah Everard case and said the force is "listening and responding" to communities. 

Former Metropolitan Police officer Couzens used his position to stage a false arrest and kidnap Ms Everard as she walked home in London. He was given a whole life order for the murder in September.

Mr Jupp said: "I can't tell you how deeply wounded myself and my staff feel that Couzens has done what he did.

"You talk to anyone in the police service and our mission is to keep society safe. That's why we joined the service.

"Here in Suffolk, all my staff feel really wounded and hurt by that. We are an organisation that is nearly 50% female officers now, so we have a really strong female presence at every level." 

Mr Jupp said the force has put on extra patrols and added that the emphasis should not be on women to protect themselves. 

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"So we're really focused on how we can get trust back with our communities, particularly with women," he said. 

"Some of these events are in isolation but some of them we have to ensure that we look at our own processes, our vetting, the way that we communicate, that you get trust in us that you can see through our positive action. 

"In terms of current issues, we are listening and responding to communities, we're putting extra patrols out, particularly in the Ipswich area where women are telling us they don't feel safe. 

"We shouldn't be putting the emphasis on women to protect themselves, this isn't a women's problem. The solution comes in us as a society, and we play a really important part in the police service in doing this, but it's us a society and our tolerance around something which should never exist.

"There is too much violence in society. But actually poor behaviour, not just physically but online and the way that people think they can talk, act, is completely wrong. So how we interact as a society through education, through local authority, through health and ourselves as a police service, is really important."

Suffolk's Chief Constable Steve Jupp.

Mr Jupp said the emphasis should not be on women to protect themselves - Credit: Rachel Edge

Mr Jupp said the force is "absolutely dedicated" to keeping people safe and conversations around women's safety need to continue.  

He said: "This is a key priority for us. People's safety has always been a key priority for us. Society has highlighted this, we need to carry on though having these conversations, we can't just see this as a spike. 

"We have to have a hard honest look at ourselves as an organisation, we are public servants and we're here to protect you. We are paid by the public to keep them safe and I'm absolutely dedicated, like all the officers who work here, to continue to do that. 

"But what has been good around this is the fact that we're having conversations like this, that we're calling out these behaviours in our society that most of us find appalling and trying to work to a place where all of us, but particularly women at this point in time, feel safe."