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  • Writer's pictureCity Hall Conservatives

Sadiq Khan must acknowledge his failure to keep women safe in London

Today the Home Secretary announced an independent inquiry into the 'systematic failures' over the murder of Sarah Everard and the wider issues across policing.

Sarah Everard was murdered by someone we all should be able to trust, a serving Metropolitan Police Officer. This was not just a brutal crime but a cruel betrayal.

A whole-life sentence for Wayne Couzens won't bring Sarah back or lessen her loved one's grief.

Nor will it heal the scar this tragedy has inflicted on London. Whilst justice was done at the Old Bailey; it's not enough to make women and girls feel safe.

Strong words aren't enough either, but that's all the Mayor of London – who is responsible for policing in the capital – has offered.

Instead of setting out a plan to make London safe, Sadiq Khan toured TV studios declaring the streets of London unsafe for women and girls.

That's not leadership. That's an admission of failure.

Six months after Sarah's murder, City Hall still has no clear plan to answer the outpouring of grief and fear felt across London.

And make no mistake, it is Sadiq Khan's responsibility to act – the first duty of the Mayor is to keep Londoners safe.

If the Mayor is going to fulfil that responsibility, he must urgently work to restore confidence in the police.

Without the trust of the public, it's impossible to police by consent. Unless the trust between Londoners and police officers is repaired, we can't make London safe.

I believe people should be confident in the police. London's police force is packed full of brave and honourable officers who put their lives on the line for our city.

I know they are as heartbroken, outraged and sickened that was a serving officer who murdered Sarah. Wayne Couzens not only betrayed Londoners but his colleagues.

However, something clearly went badly wrong for this sick individual to slip through the Met's checks, which has damaged public confidence.

As Mayor, Sadiq Khan has a responsibility to ensure any error is identified and publicly fixed.

He should be asking serious questions about the Met's vetting processes, culture and standards. And to further restore confidence, he should recruit more women into the force.

With renewed confidence and a focus on tackling crimes against women and girls, we can encourage more victims to come forward.

Sadly, too often, domestic abuse goes unnoticed and sexual crimes unreported, making them complex crimes to prevent and prosecute.

Trust between victims and the police is the key to tackling these terrible crimes.

Restoring the public's faith is a necessary first step to making London safe for women and girls, but it's not the only thing the Mayor must do.

As Chairman of Transport for London, he should also reopen the Night Tube this year, not next as currently planned.

With London's nightlife on the revival, the service provides Londoners with more choice on how to travel at night and a better-lit transport option instead of waiting for a bus on dark streets.

But there's so 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.

Within the Mayor's remit, there's so much he could change to make London safe for women and girls.

It's not okay for him to sit back and admit our streets aren't safe. Khan's got to step up. If London is going to heal and learn from this brutal betrayal, the Mayor must act.

Article by Shaun Bailey AM first published in the Daily Mail.


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