Boris Johnson says UK needs to 'change culture of policing' after Wayne Couzens sentencing

Boris Johnson has said the culture of policing in the UK needs to "change" following the sentencing of former officer Wayne Couzens, who was given life in jail for the rape and murder of Sarah Everard.

The prime minister said there is a "massive job of work to do" to restore women's trust in the police, given the police officer used his warrant card to falsely arrest Ms Everard as a way of getting her into his vehicle.

He reiterated a message that's been repeated by numerous ministers, that "people should be confident in the police".

"I believe police officers, men and women up and down the country, will be absolutely sickened by what has happened, and they will be doing everything they can, and I know they do everything they can to help and reassure the public.

"So, it is vital that the public trust the police," he added.

Mr Johnson said work was already underway outside policing to help women feel safer, such as "investing massively in CCTV and street lighting".

He said another tactic was to "recruit many more female police officers.

"It is happening in the Met – up to 40% of new recruits are female – it should happen around the country".

The Metropolitan Police - which was already under pressure over the Couzens case, given the former officer had recently been accused of indecent exposure days before the murder - faced a furious reaction over its response to Couzens' sentencing.

It issued advice saying women who are stopped by lone officers could ask where their colleagues are, where they have come from, why they are there, and exactly why they are stopping them.

An appeal against Couzens' whole life sentence was submitted, it was confirmed in October. Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA

If still concerned, the force said women should shout out to a passer-by, run into a house, knock on a door, wave a bus down, or call 999.

Critics have said there is nothing Ms Everard could have done to avoid being abducted by Couzens as she walked home from a friend's house.

But the prime minister gave his backing to the advice on Sunday, saying if people are concerned they should "seek help" in the way advised.

Asked about the Met Police advice, the PM told the BBC: "If you are suspicious about the way in which you are being treated by a police officer and you are worried for some reason, then clearly you should seek help in the way you have described.

"My view is that the police do - overwhelmingly - a wonderful job and what I want is the public, and women in particular, girls and young women, women of all ages, to trust the police.

"They are overwhelmingly trustworthy."