Proposals are under consideration for plain clothes police officers to be deployed in bars and nightclubs around the country as part of plans to protect women from “predatory” offenders.
Following a meeting of the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce chaired by the Prime Minister, the government has said it was taking a series of “immediate steps” to improve security and safety, which may include plain clothes police officers deployed to identify predatory and suspicious offenders by attending areas around clubs and bars to “help women feel safer in the night-time economy as we build back from the pandemic”.
Pilots of ‘Project Vigilant’ are expected to be rolled out across the country will also see increased patrols as people leave venues at closing time.
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.”
Other measures unveiled by the government include a doubling of the Safer Streets fund – which provides neighbourhood measures such as better lighting and CCTV – to £45 million.
It also said ministers were committed to working with police forces and with police and crime commissioners to ensure the measures were more focused on preventing sexual violence.
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.
The announcements were made against the backdrop of demonstrations taking to the streets of central London to protest against the police treatment of women who attended a vigil for Sarah Everard on Saturday evening