73% Of Women Support Controversial Plans To Put Plain Clothes Police In Bars And Pubs
More than 70% of women back a new government plan to put undercover police in bars and pubs across the UK.
The rollout of ‘Project Vigilant’ comes in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it’s ‘unleashed a wave of feeling about women not feeling safe at night. We must do everything we can to ensure our streets are safe’.
The Thames Valley Police initiative, which would see a mix of uniformed and plain clothes officers ‘identify predatory and suspicious offenders in the night time economy’, was met with backlash upon its announcement, particularly after the excessive force shown at Sarah’s vigil.
A new YouGov poll asked more than 3,000 UK adults, ‘Plain clothed police officers could patrol bars and nightclubs around the country as part of plans to protect women from predatory offenders. Do you support or oppose this proposal?’
Of all respondents, 67% were in support of the proposal, while 23% were opposed. With regards to women specifically, 73% support it, while 23% oppose. With men, 62% support it while 30% oppose.
As per The Independent, an earlier statement explained the plan: ‘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.’
Social media users and charities criticised the proposal as tone-deaf, with Bryony Beynon, the managing director of the Good Night Out Campaign, telling The Guardian that it’s ‘pretty frightening’.
She said, ‘It feels like a real scattergun approach, which certainly looks like an attempt to distract from the rightful criticisms of the last week, particularly that kind of police response [at the vigil]… the idea that undercover or plainclothes officers are somehow going to be a source of support just seems like very strange logic.’
Labour MP Stella Creasy also argued, ‘Sarah Everard was not on a night out, so the idea that putting plainclothes police officers in nightclubs is going to solve this problem doesn’t recognise that women get abused, assaulted, intimidated in all sorts of places.’
She added, ‘Ask women who’ve gone for a run recently in broad daylight in their parks about their experiences and you’ll realise some of the scale of the challenge. And what strikes me is that 80% of women report being sexually harassed in public spaces but, in those surveys, 90% of them say they never report it because they don’t believe anything will change.’
Wayne Couzens, the police officer accused of kidnapping and murdering Everard, will go on trial in October this year.
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