MPs mourn death of Sarah Everard amid call for action
- Credit: Metropolitan Police
The time for talk is over, say Havering MPs, as the country continues to reel from the death of Sarah Everard.
Speaking on Friday, March 12 - when it was confirmed that the remains identified in Ashford belong to Sarah - MPs Andrew Rosindell, Jon Cruddas and Julia Lopez have called for this to be a true catalyst for change.
The death of the 33-year-old - who disappeared on March 3 while walking home in Clapham - has prompted huge public outcry, provoking a wider discussion over what needs to be done to ensure women's safety.
Both MPs are clear: it's high time to truly address the societal issues that mean walking home carries a threat to life.
Romford MP Mr Rosindell said the tragedy must act as a "watershed for the safety of women and girls on our streets".
Taking that message on in practical terms, he has since submitted two written questions to the government in light of the appalling facts which continue to emerge.
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Firstly, he has asked what steps are being taken to ensure that police officers retain the trust of the public to keep them safe - both while on duty and off duty.
Secondly, he has asked the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government to confirm what measures are being taken to support local authorities to improve the safety of streets in their area at night.
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Mr Rosindell said the issue is now "receiving the attention it deserves".
Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas says the past week adds credence to the cries for change: "It’s 2021 and there are still a significant number of women who do not feel safe walking in the street on their own or after dark, this is something that needs to be addressed."
Beyond the important issue of public safety, he believes this tragedy shines a spotlight on "how we tackle domestic abuse in our communities".
He added that in the coming days he will be liaising with police at a local authority level to "find out what actions are in place to ensure women across Dagenham and Rainham feel safe".
Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez has confessed that she feels a sense of familiarity with the accounts she has read since Sarah disappeared: "I confess I entirely relate to the experiences shared in recent days of the steps we all take on personal safety when out alone. I suspect many parents in the constituency feel that anxiety very deeply for their teenaged or adult children as well, which is why Sarah's disappearance has resonated so deeply.
"I know how hard our police will be working to find out what happened in this case, but it has tapped into a broader discussion already under way about the best way to enhance the safety of women and girls."
There has also been an update on the new strategy being developed by home office minister Vicki Atkins to tackle violence against women and girls, which is being designed around the 15,000 public responses received to a major Home Office survey.
Ms Lopez said: "The home secretary has announced that this nationwide call will be reopened, given that so many women have bravely shared their own experiences. It will complement the ambitious domestic abuse legislation being brought in to toughen laws in this area and efforts to increase the number of police officers on our streets - something that our Borough Commander and I work together very closely on. If any constituent wishes to feed into the Home Office’s work, please do contact my office and we will pass their feedback onto the home secretary."
She concluded by assuring constituents that she is firmly with them, and will help however she can as they "navigate their grief".