Priti Patel announces £25m investment to make streets safer for women and girls

2 October 2021, 22:44

Priti Patel announced the plans ahead of the Conservative conference.
Priti Patel announced the plans ahead of the Conservative conference. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Priti Patel has announced a £25 million investment to make streets safer, particularly for women and girls.

It comes after serving police officer Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life sentence in prison on Thursday, after having pleaded guilty to the murder of Sarah Everard.

The funding will go towards local projects through the Safer Streets Fund, with the focus being on making public places safer for all but maintaining the focus on women and girls.

Crimes which take place in public places - such as sexual harassment - disproportionately affect women, which is why this latest investment largely focus on making spaces safer for them, the Government explained.

Recipients of funding have submitted bids for plans to increase safety in public spaces or projects which will focus on changing the behaviour of perpetrators.

Read more: 'I think we can trust the police': PM backs officers amid anger at Sarah Everard murder

Read more: Man accused of 'predatory' murder of Sabina Nessa used 'extreme violence,' court hears

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Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "We have made good progress in tackling violence against women and girls, but these crimes are still all too prevalent in our society.

"That is why earlier this year we launched the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, informed by the largest ever public survey of women and girls on this issue.

"As part of this, the £25 Safer Streets Fund will invest in crime prevention initiatives across the country where women and girls say they feel most unsafe. 

"The tragic cases of Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman touched us all. As we Build Back Safer from the pandemic, tackling violence against women and girls is my priority."

Read more: Tory sparks fury after saying Sarah Everard should not have 'submitted' to false arrest

Klingler: Advice to women in wake of Couzens sentence is asinine

It comes after Ms Patel said police must "raise the bar" by taking harassment and flashing of women more seriously.

The Government previously published the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy in August, which committed to radically changing how violence and abuse is stopped.

A new police lead - Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth - was also introduced,  helping set the policing strategy against violence towards women and girls across England and Wales. 

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it was "infuriating" that cases involving violence against women and girls were not being taken seriously enough by police and taking too long to process through the criminal justice system.

His comments came after talks with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick on Thursday amid a crisis in the public's trust of the police.