Women in London are sceptical about the government’s new plan to protect women with undercover police in pubs and clubs, worrying that it is not enough.
Since the death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, women have expressed their concerns regarding their own safety in the city. Following the murder, Downing Street revealed a new plan to protect women which includes the presence of undercover police officers to patrol pubs and clubs.
Project Vigilant involves undercover police officers seeking to identify suspicious behaviours in pubs and bars, and increased police patrols around those areas at closing times. It also includes measures such as better lighting and CCTV.
Womens’ reactions to the new government safety measures have been contrasting.
Samanta Grigioni, from west London, said she disagreed with Downing Street’s plan.
“Personally, I don’t think that extreme measures such as undercover agents in nightclubs or pubs would actively help tackle the security issues women face on a daily basis,” she said.
“I think it would be helpful if all workers in such venues were trained to recognise abusive behaviour and if more in general venues had a proper security system.
“The police could implement better ways for women to report abuse, a fast app with geolocation would be a beginning.”
Lana Nourallah, from south west London, said she was concerned about the plan.
“I definitely see some advantages to this however there’s one thing that strikes me as concerning. If they’re undercover, does this mean they too will be able to get away with sexual harassment/assault?” she said.
“Sarah Everard’s attacker was a police officer. Not only this but she was not attacked in a pub or club, she was walking home.
“The presence of undercover police scattered amongst bars won’t make us feel safer.”
Despite all the criticism, some women do think this is the right course of action.
Joanna Gomes from west London said she thought it was a great idea, though not enough to protect women.
“I think it’s a great idea, and I am glad people are talking about it, and I am glad it’s being brought up,” she said.
“However there should be more protection towards women because women are the most vulnerable in this world and don’t get enough protection.”
Valerija Perepeca, from west London, said she agreed with the plan.
“Well, I haven’t experienced this situation before. For now, I can imagine that it would make me feel a little safer, as long as police officers act accordingly,” she said.
“I also think it will keep everyone safe, not only women.”