Increased Kingston police presence aims to make women feel safer

Residents of London boroughs including Kingston-upon-Thames are set to see 650 more officers on the streets in a bid to win back the trust of the public. 

In recent weeks, the grim details of 33-year-old Sarah Everard’s death were revealed to the public. She was murdered in March 2021 by Wayne Couzens, a serving metropolitan police officer. Couzens was sentenced to whole-life imprisonment in late-September. 

Croydon, Hounslow and Brixton are also among those areas affected by the scaling-up in officers. The Met hopes the increased presence will act as a preventative measure against violence towards women. 

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave, said: “Our growth enables us to increase our presence in busy neighbourhoods and town centres, and be even more focused on protecting people and solving the long-term crime and anti-social behaviour issues we know people care about most – like violent crime, and violence and harassment committed against women and girls.”

Some women in Kingston said they were in favour of the plan. Yoga teacher Sophie Harding, 26, said: “[Having more police officers in Kingston] doesn’t frighten me… it’s the people that are behind the bushes or in their cars who I’m scared of. I think that having more police around to prevent things like that will be beneficial.”

However, others said that aspects of police training needed to be addressed. Fiona Pirgon, 53, a law student at Kingston University, said: “I think the problem within the police is training and really understanding what women’s issues are… I think that there should be better communication between women and the police… I think women don’t know enough about their rights. I think it is a case of better training for the police and better education.”

The rollout will begin towards the end of this year.

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