THE Justice Secretary has sent a strong message to men telling them they “need to change their behaviour” to make women feel safer.

SNP MSP Keith Brown made the comments in the wake of the outpouring of grief and horror at the details of Sarah Everard’s death at the hands of a serving police officer, who used his warrant card and handcuffs to lure her off the street.

It comes as Police Scotland are set to introduce a new procedure to allow members of the public to verify an officer’s identity.

Brown made the comments in an interview with the BBC’s Martin Geissler on Sunday, and was asked what was being done to address institutional misogyny, racism, sexism, homophobia in the police force.

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He said although he was unable to tell Chief Constable Iain Livingstone what to do in terms of the police force, there were legislative routes under consideration off the back of recommendations made by former Lord Advocate Elish Angilini.

Angilini’s report stated that Police Scotland has a problem with racism, sexism and homophobia, and needs a “fundamental” review of its culture.

Brown said that it was an “important” point that men discuss these issues, adding: “I’m very conscious as a man being on this programme.

“I spoke to a number of my female colleagues, the Cabinet Secretary for equalities and other female colleagues, and you’re right to say this is about men’s behaviour, about men having to change their behaviour.”

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Police Scotland will "proactively" offer to verify officers identity to provide peace of mind

He said that there were three key things; that police need to respond, the government needs to respond and men have to respond.

He said that although Police Scotland’s new verification checks are not the “entire answer” it was a “positive step” that showed “they’ve accepted it’s on them”.

At a government level Brown pointed to Equally Safe, the Scottish Government’s strategy to tackle violence against women and girls, a misogyny working group that is being taken forward, through Lady Dorrian’s review, which recommended specialist sexual offence courts, and through Angelini’s recommendations.

However, he added: “But thirdly, and most importantly, men have to respond. Men of all generations and all ages, they have to understand, they have to change their behaviour, their attitudes to especially low level misogyny and behaviours that take place in locker room space and various environments.

“Men have to make that change and that’s where the onus has to lie, and it’s very important that I say this as a man to men, we have to change our behaviour.”

Brown added that there could be legislation brought forward in the future which creates a separate specific offence for misogyny, depending on the outcome of Kennedy’s independent working group.

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He said: “It may well be that we end up, depending on her recommendations, with a stand alone offence for misogyny and it’s both for the effect that will have when somebody breaks that law, but also the message it sends that the law.

“As Sandy Brinley [Rape Crisis Scotland] rightly says, there are too many women who feel that the justice system doesn’t serve them well in very important respects, and this will be one instance where it can do that by sending out a very important message.”

Brown was then asked what Chief Constable Livingstone is doing to tackle “canteen culture of sexism misogyny that exists in his force”.

He said: “I agree and it’s one of the issues I’ve discussed with him.

“This idea of locker room space where men say and do things which are completely inappropriate, not just for police officers, but for any group of men, and I know he takes that very seriously, it’s one of the conversations that we had.

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“And also, one thing we’re doing is through the vetting procedures that they have in Police Scotland, they’ve changed that so there’s a second subsequent vetting process at the very end of training, and somebody can be taken off, and has been taken off, at the very end when they would otherwise qualify as a police officer because of a failure in vetting.”

On duty police officers in Scotland will now proactively offer to carry out a verification check for anyone they come across who appears to be concerned for their safety.

A member of the public can also request a verification check to be done.

The policy is intended to allow any member of the public to verify whether or not they are being spoken to by a genuine officer.