Article by Keith Prince AM, first published in the Romford Recorder.
London will never forget Sarah Everard. She was simply walking home but never made it. Her murderer was someone everyone should be able to trust, a serving Metropolitan Police Officer.
The shockwaves from Sarah’s brutal betrayal cut deep. A whole-life sentence for Wayne Couzens isn’t enough to undo her family’s grief. Nor is it enough to close the wound this tragedy has inflicted on our city – only bold action to keep women and girls can heal London.
So far, the Mayor’s response hasn’t been good enough. Instead of acting, Sadiq Khan has toured TV studios to admit that London isn’t safe for women and girls. That’s a remarkable admission of failure, given he has been responsible for policing in London for over five years. And it’s not what Londoners want to hear. They want to know the Mayor’s plan to keep women and girls safe.
As the GLA Conservative Transport Spokesman, I have a few suggestions if Sadiq Khan’s struggling for ideas. As London’s nightlife returns, there’s one big thing the Mayor could do to make women and girls feel safe – reopen the Night Tube. The service not only provides Londoners with more choice on how to travel at night, but it also provides a better-lit transport option instead of waiting for a bus on dark streets.
But there’s much more the Mayor must do to make public transport safe for women and girls. All Tube lines need to be fitted with onboard CCTV to tackle sexual assaults. The Mayor should also provide free advertising space to the ‘report it to stop it’ campaign to tackle the 90 per cent of unwanted sexual behaviour that goes unreported.
The outpouring of grief from Londoners for Sarah Everard must be met by action. No words, TV appearances or press statements can ease women and girls fears. Khan must act.