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Enhanced response to tackling violence against women and girls in London

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Enhanced response to tackling violence against women and girls in London

The Met has today set out its enhanced response to tackling violence against women and girls in London in an updated action plan – made stronger with feedback and ideas from Londoners.

The plan spells out clearly how the Met will target perpetrators, improve outcomes for victims and raise the standards of officers. 

Last November we published our draft plan and invited Londoners and partners to provide feedback so we could improve upon it before publishing our final plan on Monday, 4 April.

We received more than 1,400 responses from the public on the plan and what else they would like to be included.

We met with victims to hear first-hand their experiences and thoughts on how we can improve our response.  We also hosted a series of roundtables with charities and other organisations who carry out great work every day to support women and girls who have experienced abuse.

We have sought feedback from key national figures working in this area, while across London, officers have spoken to their local communities about their experiences and concerns.

We have carefully listened and incorporated the feedback into this latest plan as we work to rebuild trust in the Met.

The plan is intended to bring together all of our work in public spaces, domestic settings and online.  It also focuses on raising the professional standards of our officers and staff and rooting out those who display unacceptable behaviour.    

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, said: "I am extremely grateful to the many Londoners who provided us with feedback and for the opportunity to discuss our plan with groups who work tirelessly to support victims in London. Many of these organisations are small charities doing brilliant work across London every day. I am particularly grateful to the victims who courageously shared their stories and rightly challenged us to improve.  

“We have listened carefully. The feedback was clear. Londoners want to see more about the work we're doing to build trust with women and girls across London so they can be confident that when they report violence and abuse we will take it seriously. This is really important to us too and we have set out how we will achieve this in our plan. 

“They have also asked we involve victims and specialists more in shaping our priorities and scrutinising our work. Our plan includes more regular consultation with women and girls, community-led scrutiny of our work and building stronger relationships with organisations working in this area across London.

“The public wants us to improve victims’ experience of the criminal justice system. This is also incredibly important to us. We are working with the Crown Prosecution Service to increase charges for rape and domestic abuse, and the use of protection orders. 

“A wholesale independent review of culture and standards in the Met is under way but we have not waited for this to begin. We are investing in our professional standards and will make sure we are as robust as we can be in rooting out officers who should not be serving. 

“With this feedback we are confident we have made our plan even better. Women and girls have the right to feel safe, at any time, day or night, in public or at home.” 

The Met has achieved a lot since the first draft of our Violence Against Women Action Plan – having stepped up activity across the Capital to arrest offenders, make our streets safer and to tackle domestic violence and we are committed to do more. 

Some of the action we have taken includes:

- Since they were launched in November 2020, the Predatory Offenders’ Units have arrested more than 3,200 individuals of which more than 1,890 arrests were for domestic abuse.  

- We have increased patrols of open spaces across London and deployed more unformed officers in hotspot areas known for violence against women and girls and places where people may feel less safe. This is both to reassure the public and deter offenders. We are also using less visible tactics to identify potential offenders to make sure they don’t harm anyone. 

- We have 650 additional officers working in town centres and high streets to reduce crime and increase confidence in communities, including with women and girls. 

- Working with our partners across the criminal justice system, we are determined to bring more offenders to justice. We will continue to prioritise action against sexual and violent, predatory offenders. 

- We are working with the Crown Prosecution Service to speed up the time it takes for survivors to see justice and improve the support provided to them. 

- We are determined to improve the way we investigate rape and have put ourselves forward to be part of a national programme to transform the policing approach nationally. 

- We have delivered specialist training to our officers to improve our initial response to domestic abuse and help them spot the signs of coercive and controlling behaviour. 

- We are piloting in London Project Vigilant to tackle predatory offending around the night-time economy following its success elsewhere in the country. And we are continuing to work with bars and other venues to raise awareness of how they can help keep women safe in their premises. 

- In February we rolled out the “walk and talk” initiative which started in south London. Now female officers are buddying up with local women across London on street patrols so we and our partners can learn about and improve safety. 

+ The full action plan can be read here