Barking and Dagenham Council has made women’s safety a top priority after residents highlighted places in the borough where they didn’t feel safe.
Nobody should feel unsafe when they’re out and about and as well as asking men to change their behaviour, the council is doing several things to ensure this is the case for women and of course, all residents.
Behaviours, such as staring, following and wolf whistling are just three things highlighted by women that make them feel anxious or scared.
Barking and Dagenham Council is now speaking directly to men, warning them of the impact that their behaviours have on women asking them ‘How they would feel if it was their mum or daughter who was scared?’
As well as speaking directly to men, the council is reaching out to women and showing them the work it is doing to help keep residents safe in the borough following the feedback it had received about locations where they didn’t feel safe.
Key areas such as Barking Town Centre and Dagenham Heathway, car parks and parks kept coming up when women were asked.
The council now has a 10 strong Community Safety Enforcement Team that work closely with the police patrolling hotspots seven days a week from morning to night and these include London Road and Heathway car parks as well as parks in the borough. To reinforce this activity in car parks, the council has installed signage to make people aware that they are patrolled regularly by enforcement officers and the police as well as there being a number of CCTV cameras to put off anyone who is looking to cause antisocial behaviour.
The council continues to improve lighting in places where women have said they felt unsafe when its dark and are in the process of overhauling the CCTV systems to increase coverage across the borough.
Councillor Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “We don’t want anybody to feel unsafe when they’re out and about in the borough, whether it’s during the day or night.
“Women in the borough have made us aware that they don’t feel safe in certain locations in Barking and Dagenham, and we’re determined to put this right. We’re working closely with the police to ensure we’re focussing on the right areas that need addressing.
“We’re also speaking to men and making them aware that some of their actions are making women feel scared. We want them to listen to us and start changing their behaviour – would they want a female family member to be scared?”
A/Superintendent Lisa Butterfield said: “Tackling violence against women and girls is a priority for the metropolitan police.
“Key elements of how we improve women’s safety, and feelings of safety, include working with partners and communities. We want women and communities to continue to talk to us and help improve where they live & work for all.
“We welcome the behavioural change focus in Barking and Dagenham, we will work together to challenge perpetrators to change their behaviours. Women’s safety is our priority and this joint partnership project will enhance our efforts to prevent violence against women and girls”.
For information on the work the council is doing to improve safety in the borough, residents should head to www.lbbd.gov.uk/saferbd or follow their Facebook page for tips.