The Sarah Everard murder investigation has been described as "extremely upsetting" by the chairman of the Wiltshire Police Federation.

Inspector Mark Andrews added that, despite Wiltshire being "one of the safest counties in the country to live", police officers will always be prepared to protect those who feel at risk.

He emphasised that harassment incidents are taken seriously by officers, and the force is trained to deal with these situations, whether it is day or night.

Stopping short of advising people against walking at night, he also offered words of advice and reassurance in light of the distressing investigation.

The Sarah Everard case

Sarah, 33, had not been seen since she was reported missing last week, after walking home alone in South London.

Mr Andrews spoke to the Journal this morning (March 12) but it has since been revealed that a body found hidden in woodland in Kent has been identified as that of Sarah Everard.

MORE - Reaction to 'worrying' case

The Metropolitan Police officer accused of her murder remains in custody.

The shocking case sparked outrage on social media across the country, with women in particular sharing the extreme measures they often take in order to feel safe at night on their own.

Salisbury Journal:
Sarah Everard

'Extremely upsetting' murder

In response to the Sarah Everard investigation, Mr Andrews said: "It is extremely upsetting that a member of the public, someone that is so young, loses their life in such a way. We send our best wishes to her family.

"No one, no matter what gender they are, should be verbally or physically harassed, this is unacceptable behaviour towards anyone, especially those who are vulnerable.

"We take these offences so seriously, we are trained to deal with these things and it is something we know to look out for."

"When someone is taken from the streets in such a manner, by a stranger or someone they know, there is a lot more concern which is understandable," he added.

Victims urged to come forward

The federation chairman is encouraging anyone who has been a victim of harassment, or anyone who feels they are at risk, to get in touch with police.

While describing Wiltshire as a safe area to live, Mr Andrews said it is important to alert officers to situations where individuals feel victimised, so they are able to prevent it happening further.

"What we would encourage is anyone who has been a victim, come forward.

"We understand it is difficult sometimes but there are channels in which you can do it," he continued.

"If anyone feels worried they should give us a call and we will take their complaints.

"We live in a safe county, one of the safest in the country to live, I want to remind people if they have any concerns or feel at risk, go to police.

"Police are trained to protect and they will get to you, there will be officers in the area that will get to you quickly."

READ: 'People will feel vulnerable' - reaction to 'worrying' Sarah case

Salisbury Journal:
Inspector Mark Andrews, Wiltshire Police Federation

Keeping safe

When asked what more can be done to tackle cases like this, Mr Andrews said: "I won't tell people to not walk around at night, what I will say is if someone feels they are at risk, have a fully charged mobile and call 999 and officers will be there as soon as possible.

"If someone says to us they are feeling at risk or need help, we believe them."

Wiltshire Police declined to comment. 

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