Undercover police to patrol areas around clubs and bars to ‘help women feel safer'

16 March 2021 by
Undercover police to patrol areas around clubs and bars to ‘help women feel safer'

Plain clothes police officers will seek to identify predatory and suspicious offenders by attending areas around clubs and bars in an attempt by the government to "help women feel safer in the night-time economy as we build back from the pandemic".

Pilots of ‘Project Vigilant' will be rolled out across the country will also see increased patrols as people leave venues at closing time.

Following a meeting of the Criminal Justice Taskforce, routes from bars, restaurants and nightclubs could also be targeted as part of new measures in response to the outpouring of experiences and concerns over women's safety following the death of Sarah Everard.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "The horrific case of Sarah Everard has unleashed a wave of feeling about women not feeling safe at night. We must do everything we can to ensure our streets are safe, and we are bringing in landmark legislation to toughen sentences and put more police on the streets.

"We are also now taking further steps to provide greater reassurance, such as providing better lighting and greater use of CCTV in parks and routes women may take on their walks home. Ultimately, we must drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to better protect and defend them."

Policing minister Kit Malthouse will also hold a summit in the coming weeks with police and industry representatives from the night-time economy on preparations to protect women as pandemic restrictions lift.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "We welcome the fact that this issue is being addressed by the government and that funding will be forthcoming to ensure that spaces are made safer for women.

"It should be highlighted that the hospitality sector already works incredibly hard on this issue. We have numerous partnership schemes in place to ensure the safety of customers on a night out. Schemes like Best Bar None, Pub Watch, Drinkaware and Ask for Angela have been adopted by the sector to ensure that safety is central to the running of businesses. UKHospitality is a signatory to the Women's Night Safety Charter and we engage regularly with the Mayor of London's Office to make sure that nights out are fun and safe. The welfare of our customers and our staff is a priority.

"In recent years, our businesses have invested considerable sums of money in their security and surveillance to ensure that venues our safe. This must be matched by resources on the streets from local police and other civic bodies.

"That does not mean we can relax our efforts. We must continue to work hard to provide safe environments and we will regularly review our practices to see how we can be even more effective. We will be in contact with Thames Valley Police to learn from their experiences from Project Vigilant and share best practice throughout the industry, and to share our own expertise. It is critical that all stakeholders are involved in making our streets safe for everyone."

Photo: Shutterstock

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