MESSAGES of reassurance regarding the safety of women in North Ayrshire were issued last week following the high profile kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by an off duty Met police officer.

Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life-sentence for the despicable crimes committed against the 33-year-old marketing executive, who was walking home when she was targeted.

The case has highlighted the ongoing threat to the safety of women and girls across the country

The brutal kidnapping, rape and murder of Sarah Everard was an appalling crime and the thoughts and prayers of many will be with her family and loved ones.

And this week MP Patricia Gibson spoke about her hopes that people in North Ayrshire would remain confident in their faith of the police in the area.

She said: “Given the horrific and premeditated nature of the murder committed by Wayne Couzens detailed throughout his recent sentencing hearing, I feel a whole-life prison term was entirely appropriate.

“The fact that a serving police officer abused his position of trust to carry out this terrible crime makes it even more shocking to myself and the people within my constituency.

“Whilst Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick indicated that all officers had been outraged by Couzens’ actions, it was alarming to learn during his sentencing hearing that some of his former colleagues in the Metropolitan police had “spoken supportively” of him, which I and most right-minded people simply don’t understand, it is indeed very frustrating.”

The MP added: “However, it’s important to remember that the overwhelming majority of our police are good, decent and dedicated officers.

“Nevertheless, this appalling case should prompt all police forces to review their disciplinary and misconduct procedures, including when and how officers are sanctioned or sacked.

“It’s important that women feel able to trust the police and I know Police Scotland has introduced a new officer verification process in light of this brutal murder.

“I believe this will provide some reassurance to anyone concerned about whether or not they may be speaking to a genuine officer working alone.”