Hackney Council has called for a wide-ranging review of community policing, as the response to the murder of Sarah Everard and the nationwide reckoning over violence against women continues to reverberate.
Borough leader Philip Glanville’s Labour administration spoke out this week in support of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s calls for an independent review into the policing of the Clapham Common vigil for Everard, but added that the Town Hall “wants to go further”.
Glanville called for any review to take a wider look at “failures by the police to deliver for the communities they seek to protect” in the day to day, supporting calls to make misogyny a hate crime.
He also urged the government to provide clarity on protections for women built into forthcoming legislation, adding: “Public space is for people, and not statues; we should protect people – no woman should be forced to limit her freedom because of the actions of men.”
It was announced this week that the Town Hall will sign up to the White Ribbon charity’s accreditation programme and encourage all staff to make the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.
Rebecca Lammers, spokesperson for the local branch of the Women’s Equality Party (WEP), which previously called on the Town Hall to sign up to the programme, welcomed the news, adding: “What is important going forward is that a councillor, preferably a man, is nominated to lead on this process and that the council commits to becoming accredited before the 2022 local elections to demonstrate their tangible support to ending gender-based violence.
“Violence against women and girls is not inevitable, with political will it can be stopped. When the council joins the existing White Ribbon-accredited councils across the country, this will demonstrate to women and girls in Hackney that the council views protecting their safety as a priority and as a right, not a privilege.”
Hackney WEP is to hold a virtual panel discussion on gender equality on 23 March.
The ‘Men, are you on board?’ event will be chaired by barrister and WEP’s GLA candidate Harini Iyengar, with panellists including Chris Green OBE, founder and president of White Ribbon UK.
Proceeds from the discussion, organised prior to Everard’s killing, will go towards the WEP’s online campaigning in the run-up to the election and childcare costs.
In a statement, Glanville and the Town Hall’s Labour group of councillors said: “Like many, we were appalled at the scenes at the vigil in Clapham that marked the murder of Sarah Everard.
“We echo the Mayor of London’s words, that the actions of the police toward peaceful women on Saturday was unacceptable.
“We hope the investigation into an event that started as a peaceful gathering will shed more light on the details of exactly what happened.”
They added: “Unfortunately, there are many more women who are killed and whose lives are not marked publicly, and their disappearance taken seriously.
“For example, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, two Black women who went missing after a party. The police did not search for them – their families had to find their bodies.
“The media made a cursory attempt at reporting the tragic murders of these two young women who, like Sarah, were simply guilty of being women living their lives.”