Additional street lighting, CCTV and undercover police in bars - new safety measures to protect women in England announced

By Helen Johnson
Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 10:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 12:45 pm
New measures aimed at improving safety for women and girls in England are to be introduced, the Government has announced (Photo: Shutterstock)

New measures aimed at improving safety for women and girls in England are to be introduced, the Government has announced.

The measures include additional funding for better street lighting and CCTV, as well as the expansion of a scheme which would see undercover police patrolling bars and clubs at night.

A meeting of the government's Crime and Justice Taskforce took place the evening of Monday 15 March, after which Downing Street said it would be taking "immediate steps" to give "further reassurance" to women and girls in the wake of Sarah Everard s death.

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Ms Everard, 33, went missing after walking home from her friend’s house in south London on 3 March. Her body was later found in woodlands near Ashford, Kent, and a Metropolitan Police officer has been charged with the marketing executive’s kidnap and murder.

What do the new measures include?

The Government has announced a number of steps which aim to improve safety measures for women and girls.

This includes the rollout of pilots of the ‘Project Vigilant’ programme across the country, which would see plain clothes police officers patrolling pubs, bars and clubs undercover, alongside increased police patrols as people leave at closing time.

Project Vigilant was originally launched in 2019 by Thames Valley Police.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired Monday’s Crime and Justice Taskforce meeting and said that the Government was now bringing in "landmark legislation" in order to toughen up sentences and put more police on the streets.

He said: "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."

The five immediate steps which have been promised by the Prime Minister are:

  •  Doubling funding of the Safer Streets fund to £45m, with more money for better lighting and CCTV
  • Expanding pilots of a "Project Vigilant" scheme, with undercover police patrolling bars and clubs at night
  • £11m for more sexual violence advisers to support victims through the criminal justice process
  • Policing minister Kit Malthouse holding a summit with police and venue owners regarding protecting women post-lockdown
  • Consulting on a new Victims Law