Essex Police needs to be in a “better position” to support women and girls

Roger Hirst, Essex's Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Roger Hirst, Essex's Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner - Credit: PFCC

Essex Police needs to be in a “better position” to support women and girls, the county’s crime commissioner has said following the murder of Sarah Everard.

Roger Hirst added that many women think it is waste of time to come forward to report crimes to police.

He was speaking a month after former Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, was sentenced to a whole-life tariff for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, 33.

Mr Hirst said: “The brutal murder of Sarah Everard has certainly made us review where we are.

“Talking to number of representative groups with additional concerns in those areas, we need to do more and we need to change and we need to be in a better position to support women and girls.

“It has been an eye opener to me how many have suffered what they may at the time have regarded as relative petty abuse but abuse – stuff they shouldn’t have to put up with.

“And of course how many are much more brutally abused.

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“We have some very good programmes in place for supporting victims of more serious abuse, particularly in the domestic sphere.

“And that has been evidenced in the massive increase in the number of reported incidents over recent years, to the extent that the national inspectorate have told us now that they think we have a very good grip and understanding of the scale of the problem of domestic abuse.”

He admitted that many women feel it is a waste of time to make complaints and that men needed to stand up and call abuse out.

He added: “Part of our extension of the police crime plan last and the new plan this year is to deal with that scale of abuse and bring it down.

“Understanding the size, supporting victims and then dealing with the problem is the course of the arc of process we have had to go through to get to where we need to be.

“But there is an awful lot more out there about women feeling safe in public spaces. And many of them think it will be a waste of time to come forward to police at the moment.”

He added: “I know I have never abused a woman but I know as a male leader of this community I need to stand up and condemn male violence against women. I will not tolerate it.”

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