UK gov't unveils new measures for female protection after death of Sarah Everard
The British government on Tuesday announced a package of new measures, including better lighting and CCTV in community, to give "further reassurance" to women and girls after the death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard.
Following a meeting of the government's Crime and Justice Taskforce on Monday evening, Downing Street said it would take "immediate steps" to help women in England and Wales feel safer.
In a statement, the British government said it would be doubling the size of the Safer Streets fund, which provides local measures such as better lighting and CCTV, to 45 million pounds (about 62.5 million U.S. dollars).
It also promised to send more undercover police to clubs, bars and popular nightspots to relay intelligence about predatory or suspicious offenders to uniformed officers.
These steps have been taken in response to the outpouring of experiences and concerns following the death of Sarah Everard, who went missing while walking home from a friend's apartment in south London on March 3.
Her body was found last week in an area of woodland in Kent, around 50 miles (about 80.47 km) away in southeast England.
A serving Metropolitan police officer, Wayne Couzens, on Saturday appeared in court in London for the first time after being charged with the kidnap and murder of Everard.
Couzens, 48, on Tuesday appeared at the Old Bailey via a videolink from Belmarsh Prison, the BBC reported. The judge set a plea hearing date for July 9 and a provisional trial for Oct. 25.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who chaired the Crime and Justice Taskforce meeting on Monday, said the horrific case of Everard has unleashed a wave of feeling about women not feeling safe at night and the government was bringing in "landmark legislation" to toughen up sentences and put more police on streets.
"Ultimately, we must drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to better protect and defend them," he said.
But the Shadow Home Secretary, Labour Party's Nick Thomas-Symonds, said the measures were "nowhere near good enough" and called for "urgent action" on issues like harassment of women, domestic homicide sentencing and more support for victims of rape.
A spokeswoman for organisation Reclaim These Streets said it welcomed additional funding, but the funding alone would not create the structural changes.
"Women won't be able to trust that they are safe until misogyny and racism are tackled at an institutional level within government, police and the criminal justice system," she said.