Dear Sadiq Khan,
Women are exhausted, we are heartbroken, we are afraid. Over the last week women across the UK have been united in their sorrow and rage over the disappearance of Sarah Everard, and the fact that a Metropolitian Police Officer has now been charged for her kidnapping and murder.
This weekend women shared their stories of the lengths they have to go to try to feel safe in our city. Holding keys like knuckle dusters, avoiding going out at night, hiding disabilities, pretending to talk on the phone, walking down the train until they find a carriage with another woman. One woman described pulling strands of her hair out in a taxi to leave DNA evidence in case anything happened.
Enough is enough. You have the power to change this.
- The Met cannot be trusted to investigate their own officer, especially when they are being investigated for their handling of an earlier indecent exposure allegation. As Police and Crime Commissioner for London, you must ensure the investigation into Sarah’s death is passed to a neighbouring police force.
- Invest in a specialist police squad to tackle gender based violence in London and restore women’s trust in the criminal justice system. Hold the Met to account for improving charging rates.
- Make ending violence against women and girls your top priority. Set and publish targets for crime reduction and appoint a Deputy Mayor to take the lead.
- Guarantee sustainable funding for specialist violence against women and girls services based on need, so that no woman is ever turned away from safe refuge in our city. This must include migrant women.
Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. You, as Mayor, as London’s Police and Crime Commissioner, have a choice about whether and how to respond to the realities women and girls in our city are facing. For far too long our very real fears have been minimised and ignored by politicians. But enough is enough.
Leader of the Women’s Equality Party