Met invites women on 'walk and talk' patrols to tackle gender-based violence

25 February 2022, 18:25 | Updated: 25 February 2022, 23:19

The Metropolitan Police is launching a new scheme to help keep women and girls safe in London
The Metropolitan Police is launching a new scheme to help keep women and girls safe in London. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Met Police is launching a "walk and talk" scheme across London that will see women joining female police officers on patrols to share their concerns about safety.

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Women will be able to walk through areas where they feel vulnerable with the officers, discussing what can be done to alleviate their concerns.

The patrols will take place at times where there are fewer people, less traffic, and when it is darker, according to the Met.

The force says this will give them a "real sense" of what people's worries are.

The scheme will launch on March 8 - International Women's Day - and will be rolled out across all 12 Borough Command Units.

Commander Rachel Williams, said the Met were doing everything they could to make London safer for women and girls.

"All women and girls have the right to feel safe, at any time, day or night, in public or at home, and we are doing everything we can to improve safety," she said.

"We appreciate and acknowledge public concern and anger, and the desire for action to be taken which keeps women and girls safe – and we agree.

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"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."

Commander Williams said the Met had also established specialist Predatory Offenders' Units, deployed more officers and launched more town centre teams to keep women and girls safe.

"We want all women and girls to know that we are listening to your concerns and worries and we are 100 per cent committed to making you feel safe – as you should – in London," she said.

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Inspector Becky Perkins, who came up with the idea, said: "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."

The announcement comes as 36-year-old Koci Selamaj pleaded guilty to the murder of schoolteacher Sabina Nessa in September 2021, reigniting discussion about the safety of women and girls on London's streets.

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It also comes days before the anniversary of the murder of Sarah Everard, who was killed by a serving officer last March.

The Met said the force was "under no illusion that it needs change".

"We know the murder of Sarah Everard, along with other awful cases where officers have behaved appallingly toward women, have deeply impacted trust and we are determined to do everything we can to rebuild the faith we need the public to have in us," said Commander Dr Alison Heydari.

"We also know that the change has to start with us."