First-of-its-kind De Beauvoir event brings women and the police together
- Credit: Sophie Mitchell
Hackney Police held their first women’s only engagement event last Wednesday (December 1), in an attempt to bridge a fraught relationship between women and the Met Police.
The event was a trial run set up by PS Khalil Daleel, part of the youth engagement team in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, following the murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer in March.
Taking place at The Crib youth club on the De Beauvoir Estate, the event focused on ways for women to stay safe, but also detailed steps the Met are taking to improve their interactions with women in London.
These steps include the improvement of victim care, the Mayor of London’s Women’s Night Safety Charter and the Good Night Out Campaign.
The officers welcomed feedback and criticism from the women in the community, trying to show commitment to learning from previous mistakes.
PC Stephen Reed described such events as a “learning experience” for both the police and the community.
“Any bad experience [with the police]," PS Daleel said, "We don’t want that to stop you from coming to us now”.
Female officers also joined, speaking of their experience in the force, and allowing the women attending to share their previous experiences with a female officer.
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One attendee spoke of a previous harassment incident and the inaction of the police when she first contacted them, in response to an officer’s presentation which read “we will take it seriously”.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said she may have felt more empowered to go to the police again if she had previously seen this presentation.
The Youth Engagement team works throughout Hackney and Tower Hamlets and hopes to bring this style of event to more centres across the boroughs.
PS Daleel said: “This won’t be the only event. We will do them as long as people need them.”
In a survey conducted by the Gazette in March following the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard, more than half of almost 800 women from north and east London said they often or usually feel unsafe walking or travelling alone in London.