The Project Vigilant initiative comes as a measure to improve safety for women in bars and venues throughout the UK.
A new plan proposed by the British government seeks to station uniformed and plainclothes police officers within bars and nightlife venues in England and Wales.
The plan was introduced as a means of protecting women from harassment and abuse at the hands of predatory offenders. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a “series of steps” being taken to improve safety measures for women after a proposal for a national registry of stalkers was rejected by the House of Lords, The Guardian reports.
The proposal, Project Vigilant, includes an additional £45 million that will go toward the “Safer Streets” fund to improve CCTV and lighting in neighborhoods. Johnson’s plan would also seek to place officers in parks and public areas in an effort to prevent sexual violence.
Some public figures and charities have scrutinized Project Vigilant, criticizing the new measures as highly intrusive. Bryony Beynon, the managing director of Good Night Out Campaign, stated that the project is “pretty frightening” and “feels like an increase in police intrusion into social spaces.”
“The idea that putting plainclothes police officers in nightclubs is going to solve this problem doesn’t recognise that women get abused, assaulted, intimidated in all sorts of places,” Labour MP Stella Creasy added.
Creasy is also calling for misogyny to be considered a hate crime “so that existing crimes like sexual harassment, abuse and intimidation can be reported and recorded as such, so we can build up patterns of where the problems are to help the police with the way in which they investigate these issues.”
The Center For Women’s Justice stated: “Many women will now be quite rightly asking: ‘But who will protect me from the plainclothes officer?’ Undercover policing has recently been exposed as providing an opportunity for police officers to abuse their cover in forming inappropriate sexual contact with women.”
Source: The Guardian