Following a meeting of the Criminal Justice Taskforce, chaired by the Prime Minister, the Government is taking immediate steps to provide further reassurance for women and girls. This includes doubling the size of the Safer Streets fund, which provides neighbourhood measures such as better lighting and CCTV. This will bring the funding for these local projects to £45million, alongside a commitment from the Government to work with police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure these target areas of potential concern for women and girls and are now more focussed on preventing sexual violence. This could include targeting parks and alleyways, and routes from bars, restaurants and nightclubs as we see a return to the night-time economy, in line with the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
To further support this, and help women feel safer in the night-time economy as we build back from the pandemic, the Government will also roll-out pilots of ‘Project Vigilant’ across the country. This is an internationally award winning-approach taken by Thames Valley Police where both uniformed and plain clothes officers identify predatory and suspicious offenders in the night time economy. This can involve officers attending areas around clubs and bars undercover to better ensure women are safe in these locations, and increased patrols as people leave at closing time.
These steps have been taken in response to the outpouring of experiences and concerns following the death of Sarah Everard. They will complement existing action being taken to address violence against women and girls and keep them safe. This includes toughening sentences for serious violence and sexual assaults through the Police Crime and Sentencing Bill and measures in the Domestic Abuse Bill to improve protections for victims and create news offences, such as non-fatal strangulation.