Sussex police arrest man on suspicion of impersonating officer so he could kidnap girl
Written by Hitmix News on 16 October 2021
A man has been arrested in Sussex on suspicion of impersonating a police officer so he could kidnap a 14-year-old girl on her way to school.
It comes in the wake of concerns about how law enforcement agents identify themselves after serving police officer Wayne Couzens arrested, raped and murdered Sarah Everard while off duty.
Image: The incident comes in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard
On Thursday, the Metropolitan Police revealed they too were investigating reports of people impersonating officers after a video went viral on social media.
And North Yorkshire’s police, fire and crime commissioner, Philip Allott, resigned after saying women needed to be “streetwise” following Ms Everard’s murder.
In a statement about the incident, which happened in Crawley, Sussex Police said: “It was just after 8am on Wednesday when a 14-year-old girl, on her way to school, was approached by a man wearing a yellow hi-vis jacket, who took her to an adjacent area off the road and searched her clothing before cycling off.
“Following police inquiries and further information, a 32-year-old local man was detained in the town at 11.15am on 14 October.
“He was arrested on suspicion of kidnap and of impersonating a police officer and is currently in custody for interview and further inquiries.”
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Superintendent Marc Clothier said: “We understand that this arrest will impact communities. The girl is safe and unharmed and is receiving support from officers working with her family.
“We want to reassure people we have not received any similar reports at this time and there is no current risk to anyone in the community in relation to this case.
“You will see more uniformed patrols in the area and we encourage you to stop and talk to us if you have any concerns.
“We understand some people may want additional reassurance when interacting with a lone police officer and when you are alone. If this is the case, genuine officers can use their police radio on loudspeaker to talk to the operator in the police control room.
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“The operator can confirm the identity of the officer, that they are on duty and carrying out legitimate policing business. You can also ask a passer-by to observe.
“Off-duty officers intervening in a crime in action or where someone is vulnerable, and not carrying a radio, will quickly call 999 for back-up.”