This week, Avon and Somerset Police, launched a ‘Walk and talk’ initiative in Somerset where women can arrange to meet with female police officers and PCSOs to show them areas in which they feel vulnerable or unsafe in their local communities.
The scheme, which was introduced by Police Sergeant Roseanna Green, aims to build trust amongst women and help the police to understand areas in which women do not feel comfortable or safe.
For example, there may be an area where women feel unsafe due to poor street-lighting or because they’ve witnessed or experienced anti-social behaviour or harassment in certain locations. The initiative is part of Avon and Somerset Police’s work to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG).
Police Sergeant Roseanna Green said: “We know there are women out there who don’t feel completely safe walking the streets and we want those women to know what we will listen and that we are committed to doing all we can to make our streets safer.
"We want to take the time to have a proper conversation and build an understanding of the concerns and worries that women and girls are facing in our communities to help us bring some positive and proactive change on our streets.”
The force is inviting women aged 18 and above who live in Somerset to get in touch and they will be paired with a female officer to take a walk at a mutually convenient time. The walks are flexible and will last around 30 minutes, they can take place any time of day including early morning or evening as these are often times when women feel most vulnerable due to darkness and fewer people on the streets.
If you’re interested in booking a walk and walk with Avon and Somerset Police, visit: Walk and Talk | Avon and Somerset Police.
Currently this initiative is only taking place in Somerset but the force hopes to roll it out across the region in the near future.
Members of the public are also encouraged to report areas in which they feel unsafe via StreetSafe, a website and phone app: StreetSafe | Police.uk. People can report either environmental or behavioural issues in their local communities that lead to them feeling vulnerable or unsafe which will be fed back to the police to look at what they can do, along with partner agencies, to improve women’s safety on our streets.