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Scheme launched in Lambeth and Southwark aimed at improving safety for women

News   •   Jun 09, 2021 06:30 BST

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Women are joining police officers on patrol in south London to share their concerns about safety, particularly in public spaces.

The Met is determined to put an end to violence against women and girls and so a new walk and talk initiative has been set up in Lambeth and Southwark.

Twenty five female neighbourhood officers are buddying up with women from within the community to walk the streets of south London and hear of their experiences, concerns and reflections.

Those taking part will be able to discuss with police any locations in which they feel vulnerable and patrols will take place at times when there are fewer people, less traffic and light so officers can get a real sense of what their worries are.

The aim of the patrol is to start a conversation between members of the public and officers about what worries they have and what can be done to alleviate them.

Every day, committed officers in the Met are working closely with partners across the Capital to deliver a safe environment for women and girls to go about their daily business without fear of becoming a victim of crime.

Just last month, an intense day of action cracking down on violence against women saw 117 people arrested in a series of reactive and proactive arrests for offences including domestic assault, sexual offences, and violence against women and girls as part of ongoing investigations.

The Met has also established specialist Predatory Offender Units to arrest and charge those who carry out violence. These are based in every Borough Command Unit across London.

Sergeant Becky Perkins, Central South Neighbourhoods Team and who leads the initiative, said: “The walk and talk initiative is just one of the many things going on across London to crack down on violence against women and girls. We want the women in our area to feel confident and safe on our streets and we hope that by walking with them on their usual routes and hearing from them first-hand what their concerns are we will be able to act and build trust.

“We know there are many women out there who don’t feel completely safe walking London’s streets and we want those women to know we are here for you, we are listening and we are doing all we can to make the streets safer. Recent events have heightened concerns around violence amongst women in London, and the Met understands and shares those concerns. We appreciate and acknowledge public concern and anger, and the desire for action to be taken which keeps women and girls safe. We agree.

“I’d like to thank all of the women who have come forward to take part in this walk. It is important for us to know what your concerns are so we can do everything we can to resolve them. No woman should feel unsafe walking the streets or taking public transport. Working closely with our communities is a vital part of what we do, we hope this new initiative will help to make women feel safer in our area and beyond in London.”

Walk and Talk participant Miriam Wickham said: “It’s good to know that the Met is trying to listen to the public, make changes and really see how women feel.”

Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove, responsible for policing in Lambeth and Southwark, added: “All women have a right to feel safe. By connecting local women to local female police officers through the “Walk and Talk” initiative we can improve our understanding of the experiences of local women and take the rights steps to improve women’s safety.

“It is one of many initiatives, and we are working closely with our partners, community groups, and businesses to tackle violence against women and girls. No violence or harassment of women is acceptable, we will take it seriously, and together we can make London a safer place for all women.”