There has been much discussion since Sarah Everard’s death and how violence against women and girls has been placed at the forefront of the political agenda since her death. After two years, the Metropolitan Police Department continues to fail women. Cressida Dick, who resigned after the Sarah Everard vigil due to her failures and lack of action to protect women, wrote their new framework. Women who have been directly affected by rape, abuse, stalking, and harassment are discussed in the met police framework action plan.
I am questioning their violence against women action plan since many police officers have been arrested or disciplined for abusing, harassing, or threatening women since it was implemented. When police officers themselves perpetrate violence against women and girls, how can women trust them? Mark Rowley, the new Met commissioner, has recently stated that the Met plans to investigate a couple of officers per week as a result of VAWG. What does this mean to women in terms of reassurance?
As part of their action plan they have identified the following key objectives:
Our key objectives
We want to:
- increase women’s trust in the Met
- in particular, to increase women’s confidence in the police to improve the reporting and investigation of crimes which disproportionately affect women and girls within London;
- increase the number of perpetrators brought to justice for violence against women and
- improve processes and victim care across the criminal justice system to reduce the number
- of cases failing;
- reduce repeat victimisation of women and girls;
- see an increase in reporting to police, but a decrease in women being abused, i.e. the proportion of women experiencing these crimes each year (measured through reporting
- in the Crime Survey in England and Wales); and
- intensify work to tackle sexual misconduct and domestic violence by officers and staff;
- improve the confidence of people to tell us about sexual misconduct and domestic abuse committed by officers and staff; improve our support to victims and our investigations; and reach outcomes that are understood and build confidence.
Although the action plan sounds positive the figures speak for themselves, very few perpetrators of violence against women and girls are brought to justice.
Consequently, I would like to discuss the challenges women face when reporting crimes to the police. In the past few weeks, I have reported several crimes to the police. I have been experiencing islamophobia, abuse, assault, and verbal threats for the past four years. Following the correct channels, I reported the crime through the online Met Police website and by dialling 101 or 999 as necessary. Unfortunately, I faced several challenges when reporting crimes, such as victim blaming and gaslighting attitudes from those working in the control room. It is also concerning that the staff who answer 101 and 999 calls seem to have little knowledge of what constitutes a criminal offence. My inability to report a crime to the police as a result of this created a barrier for me to do so in the future.
The harassment and islamophobia in my home got so bad that I had to leave my home, quit my master’s program, and move into emergency accommodation for my safety, but the police did nothing to assist me.
As my own experience has shown, they are failing many women, and following the reporting of the crime, the lack of action taken by the police is also concerning. Their failure to conduct the necessary investigations to identify the perpetrators leaves women vulnerable and open to further abuse by men.
Women and girls should be taken seriously when it comes to violence against them and organizations like the Metropolitan Police Service are the first point of contact for women. When the police fail to provide women with the necessary protection, it leaves them vulnerable to further abuse.
We have seen very little progress in the issue of women’s rights or justice. Hopefully, the Met Police will be more serious about their action plan and hold those responsible for abusing women accountable.
Leave a Reply