Prime minister Boris Johnson has dodged calls for a public inquiry into the policing of violence against women in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard.
Mr Johnson said he would “stop at nothing” to drive up the rate of successful prosecutions for rape.
But he refused to promise to restore the 25 per cent cut from Ministry of Justice budgets under Conservative-led governments.
Instead, he blamed the Crown Prosecution Service and police for failing to work well enough together on preparing cases for court.
Speaking on the BBC1 Andrew Marr Show on the opening day of the Conservative annual conference in Manchester, Mr Johnson said that women should be confident that they can trust the police, despite the rape and murder of Ms Everard by off-duty officer Wayne Couzens, who used his warrant card to carry out a false arrest.
He agreed that, if women were “suspicious” of the behaviour of should follow the Metropolitan Police’s advice and run away or hail down a bus.
But he added: “I want women to trust the police. They are overwhelmingly trustworthy.”
Table of Contents
UK news in pictures
Show all 50
Asked whether he would deliver the public inquiry demanded by Labour and by women’s rights campaigners, he pointed to the investigations already being carried out by the Met and the Independent Office for Police Conduct into issues around the case, including allegations that officers known to Couzens had shared offensive images.
He added: “We do need to look systemically, not just at the Wayne Couzens case, but at the whole handling of rape, domestic violence, sexual violence and female complaints about harassment all together. It is a phenomenon.”
Mr Johnson refused a challenge to restore the deep cuts in funding for the legal system.
But he said: “We will stop at nothing to make sure we get more rapists behind bars and we have more successful prosecutions for rape and sexual violence.”