ANDOVER MP and policing minister Kit Malthouse came under fire from a number of leading broadcasters this morning as he discussed concerns over public confidence in police forces in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.

Ex-Pc Wayne Couzens was handed a whole-life sentence yesterday (Thursday, September 3) for the brutal murder of Ms Everard in London on March 3.

It was revealed that he had abused his position to falsely arrest his victim, before kidnapping and killing her.

As previously reported, Mr Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire and policing minister, has said that hard work is now needed to restore the public’s confidence in the police.

However, as duty minister making the media rounds this morning (Friday, October 1), Mr Malthouse came under fire from several broadcasters for his responses, particular in defence of Met Police chief Cressida Dick, and in encouraging people to verify the identity of a police officer should they have concerns.

He said, on Times Radio, that Ms Dick is the “right person for the job” and stressed that she has one of the “top three most difficult jobs in the country”.

Meanwhile, he repeated at each interview that anyone concerned about being confronted by a plain-clothed officer should call 999 or ask to speak to the control room to verify identity.

But for many broadcasters, this was insufficient.

Kay Burley, of Sky news, asked him: “What sort of society have we come to that we are so doubting of a police officer, that we think we have to dial 999 to check?”

Mr Malthouse responded: “That is the devastating consequence of this awful man’s actions. He has undermined the good work of thousands of police officers.

“If that means speaking to the control room or calling 999 if they feel they are in danger, then I’m afraid that’s where we’ve got to.”

GMB’s Kate Garraway also quizzed the minister over trust in police. She said: “He seems to be on a Whatsapp group with other police officers that are now being investigated. How many other situations are going unvetted?

“We know that a huge number of allegations have been put against serving police officers, 750. Very few of them led to charges. It’s not confidence-inducing. The practical reality of calling 999 to call another police officer - that is the solution from the policing minister?”

And on BBC Breakfast, Naga Munchetty added: “Can I start with the obvious question, that I think many women will be thinking about today. If a woman is walking on her own, and is stopped by a police officer in a marked or unmarked car and told to stop, should dhe get in the car?”

“Mr Malthouse responded: “Obviously, it depends on the circumstances. What I would say is the police recognise that this appalling crime has raised a question mark in people’s minds about exactly those circumstances.”

Many viewers and listeners also took to Twitter, with Kit Malthouse trending this morning as a result of his interviews.

One Twitter user described his comments as “admission of catastrophic failure”, while another added: “I just watched Kit Malthouse unconvincingly try and explain Met Police policy after the Sarah Everard case. It was a feeble attempt to try and reassure girls, women and wider society how to challenge suspected rogue cops with misogynistic violent tendencies.

“It will have major implications.”