In recent times, several high-profile cases of lone women and lone male police officers have seen a rise in distrust of the police.

In March 2021, Sarah Everard was kidnapped and murdered by former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens who used his police-issued warrant card to stage a fake arrest and kidnap the 33-year-old marketing executive.

Couzens received a whole life sentence for the murder of Everard and an independent report later found that three separate police forces "could and should" have stopped him.

Reports found that concerns over Couzens' behaviour had been raised while still an officer and also found that he was nicked "the rapist".

Before the murder of Everard, Couzens had reportedly indecently exposed himself three times.

Lady Elish Angiolini who published the report said: "Failures of investigations, failures of recruitment processes, and failures of vetting policy and practice are a depressingly familiar refrain in policing.

"Wayne Couzens should never have been a police officer. And, without a significant overhaul, there is nothing to stop another Couzens operating in plain sight."

In February 2023, serial rapist David Carrick was jailed for a minimum of 30 years after he was described as carrying out a "catalogue of violent and brutal sexual offences" while a severing Metropolitan Police officer.

What to do if you're stopped by a lone policeman

In a freedom of information request asking for guidance to the question, what should a lone woman do if she is found in this situation and does not want to get into a police car alone with a lone male police officer for fear of harm?

You can see the full report via the Met Police website here.

The Met shared: "The majority of police officers patrol in uniform and near other colleagues, but there are limited occasions where a lone plain-clothed officer may need to engage with the public.

"Lone plain-clothed officers, including those reacting to incidents whilst off-duty, will proactively verify their identity and purpose to any lone woman they need to engage with using a video call to a uniformed supervisor in one of our police operations rooms. This is in addition to showing their warrant card."

Adding that uniformed supervisor in the control room will complete required checks and "provide reassurance that the officer is who they say they are and that they are acting appropriately" and that the encounter is recorded.

On the rare occasion, they don’t have their devices, including when off duty, "the officer will provide the woman with the telephone number to visually call the operations room directly."

The lone women can call "999 directly, to ask for verification of an officer’s identification and reassurance from the police control room if they prefer this route - or if video calling is not available for any reason."