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Police must make streets safe for women – Victims’ Commissioner

By PA News

Police need to do more to make the streets safe for women and girls following the death of teacher Sabina Nessa, the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales has said.

Dame Vera Baird, who said she attended a vigil to the murdered 28-year-old in Wood Green, north London, on Friday night, said there needs to be more onus on police to protect the public than on women to take precautions.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Apparently the police have been giving out rape alarms to women and giving leaflets out saying how to stay safe in a public place.

“It is less, isn’t it, about giving women leaflets on keeping themselves safe in dangerous places and more about the police making the streets safe for women?”

Members of the public attend a vigil in memory of Sabina Nessa at Pegler Square in Kidbrooke (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Members of the public attend a vigil in memory of Sabina Nessa at Pegler Square in Kidbrooke (Jonathan Brady/PA)

When it was put to her that there needed to be societal change along with police intervention, Dame Vera replied: “It certainly isn’t just a job for the police but, look, the police do have a very key role here.”

She added: “Three-quarters of women over 16 have been harassed in a public place and don’t feel safe.

“They need to know that the police understand that and will use all the powers they have got to keep the streets safe.”

Hundreds of mourners, including Ms Nessa’s sister Jebina Yasmin Islam, attended an emotional candlelit vigil in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke, south-east London, where she had been heading to the pub on the evening she was killed.

A separate rally earlier in the evening at East London Mosque heard powerful testimony from other members of Ms Nessa’s family.

Anyone with information about her Ms Nessa’s death is asked to contact police.


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