THE appalling murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer has brought an intense, critical spotlight onto policing in the UK and onto misogyny and violence against women and girls.

Misogyny, sexism and discrimination of any kind are deplorable. They should have no place in society and no place in policing.

Significant value is placed on policing in Scotland and we have a strong bond with the public we serve. As police officers and staff, we stand in a unique position of trust and authority. The onus is on us to demonstrate leadership in building and maintaining the confidence of women, girls and all our fellow citizens.  Every day, police officers save lives, help others and do what we can to improve the wellbeing of communities. At times of crisis, policing steps forward with compassion.

The onus is on policing to build and maintain public confidence, which is critical to our legitimacy and our ability to keep people safe.

To build and maintain that trust, we have this week introduced a new verification process to confirm who officers are and their reason for speaking with someone if requested. Our Chief Constable is issuing new enhanced security warrant cards which will feature the Police Scotland logo, a hologram and the signature of the Chief Constable Iain Livingstone.

All officers carry their warrant cards, which will be shown on request.

Meanwhile, I’d like to take this opportunity to raise a concern I have in relation to the theft of specific types of cars which is happening across east and central Scotland – and indeed East Lothian. Only this week, two Ford Focus, ST-Line cars were stolen from addresses in Musselburgh and Tranent. The owners still have the keys for these vehicles and it appears an electronic device is being used to steal them.

If you have a Ford which is ST-Line, I ask that you take additional measures to prevent it from being stolen, such as parking a car in front of it if you can, or using some other creative ideas. We are doing what we can to tackle this, as it appears a national issue.

It’s only a few weeks till COP26. I am sure everyone is fully aware of the significant impact this will have for us all over the two weeks of the conference. Please keep up to date with ongoing incidents, road closures, marches and protests to ensure you are not inconvenienced.

I would also encourage you all to discuss the impact of climate change with your children. My wife and I regularly discuss these issues with our primary school-aged children and their recent projects have included plastic pollution and the damage to our oceans and wildlife caused by climate change.

We all want our children to grow up in a safe world. Success depends on us all but the conversations and follow-up action by the world leaders at COP26 are crucial. That is why COP26 is such an important event for each and every one of us.