Police to provide safe space for women celebrating New Year’s Eve in London

Officers to work with company set up to confront and prevent sexual violence at festivals and events

Designated spaces will be provided for women and girls who feel unsafe on New Year’s Eve celebrations in London, before the mayor’s fireworks display at the London Eye, the Metropolitan police has said.

The Met announced it would work with Safer Spaces, a community interest company set up to help educate and create a culture that confronts and prevents sexual violence, harassment and domestic abuse at festivals and events.

Women and girls can go to the designated space, which will be located along Duncannon Street, near Trafalgar Square, if they feel unsafe, are in need of advice or wish to speak to someone.

Specially trained professionals from safeguarding backgrounds, supported by the police, will be present on site.

Although the space will be “gender-focused”, it will be inclusive for anyone with concerns who will be listened to and supported.

The announcement comes after a string of scandals that have eroded women’s trust in the police force, including the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer Wayne Couzens in March last year and the conviction of two officers for sharing photographs of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, who were found stabbed to death in June 2020.

Thousands of Met officers will be on duty on Saturday across London boroughs. Additional resourcing will also be in place in central London.

“Plans have been carefully considered and we are delighted to be working with our trusted partners in preparation for a return to another fantastic New Year’s Eve in London,” said Commander Karen Findlay, who will lead the New Year’s Eve operation.

“We will have officers out in every pocket of London on hand to help. They are going to be working hard with stewarding partners to ensure safety is a priority,” Findlay said.

The mayor’s firework display is a ticketed event, which people can watch along the Victoria Embankment. People without a ticket will not be permitted entrance.


Aina J Khan

The GuardianTramp

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