'People are concerned about a range of places': Islington Council pledges to boost safety

Councillors put down flowers outside the Town Hall. From left: Cllr Richard Watts, Cllr Sue Lukes, and Cllr Kaya...

In tribute to Sarah Everard's death, councillors put down flowers outside the Town Hall. From left: Cllr Richard Watts, Cllr Sue Lukes, and Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz - Credit: Islington Council

Increasing street lighting and modifying the layout of streets and open spaces are among the options being considered to make residents safer. 

Islington Council is rewriting its violence reduction strategy and has undertaken a week-long engagement period. 

The review coincidentally came the same week as former Met Police officer Wayne Couzens was sentenced for murdering Sarah Everard – an event that brought women’s safety into the national conversation. 

Cllr Sue Lukes, executive member for community safety, said: “We have been doing lots of work about women’s safety and a lot of that has been about encouraging contacting the police.

“We are concerned. In the wake of a police officer abusing his position and murdering a young woman we have got to think about how we can restore the trust in the police.

“It’s not going to be quick or easy. I am proud of a lot of work we have done with safe havens and domestic abuse. We need to engage and see how it is we can deal with misogyny among police officers. I am hoping they will be prepared to work together with us on that.” 

Cllr Sue Lukes was elected in May. Picture: Em Fitzgerald/Islington Council

Cllr Sue Lukes - Credit: Archant

Cllr Lukes said the outreach includes putting a leaflet through doors where residents can draw on a map where they feel unsafe; a town hall meeting; groups sessions; an online engagement event, and engagement hubs alongside the police. 

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She said she is interested to hear the ways people feel unsafe, such as those who report feeling unsafe when there groups of young people around.

The consultation results could see the council consider measures such as changing the layouts of public spaces to increase visibility and lighting.

The authority is communicating with its partners, including the police, and Cllr Lukes said: “We are a critical friend to the force. In general most people would like to see more policing in their neighbourhoods. I know people in charge are also keen to make neighbourhood policing more visible." 

She said the council has responsibilities when it comes to helping people with substance abuse and, as a landlord, in dealing with antisocial behaviour on estates.

She added that the council has schemes in place to protect the elderly against crime, and that local hospitality businesses are committed to the Ask for Angela scheme. Local services, such as libraries, are also operating as ‘safe havens’. 

For more information, visit www.islington.gov.uk/community-safety