Priti Patel outlines bold new plan to keep women safe after Sarah Everard horror

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The Home Secretary wrote movingly about the plight many women face shortly after Sarah Everard’s killer PC Wayne Cozens pleaded guilty to her murder. Ms Everard was abducted while walking home in Clapham Common in March.

Her body was later found dumped in woodland in Kent.

Earlier this month, Couzens – at the time a serving police officer – pleaded guilty to her murder. He will be sentenced in September.

Writing in the Times, Ms Patel laid out several measures that are being introduced to tackle violence against women.

She said: “I am committed to ensuring not only that the laws are there, but that they work in practice and women and girls are confident their concerns will be taken seriously.

“It is important that the police enforce the law and give women the confidence that if they report an incident, it will be dealt with.

“We will ensure the police are confident about how to respond to sexual harassment.

“And we will deepen our understanding of who commits these crimes.

“But we will continue to look at gaps in existing law and how an offence for sexual harassment could address those.”

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She added: “The safety of everyone in our country is my priority. It is a terrible thing not to feel safe on the street, on a bus, at school, at work, online or in your home.

“Too many people have this experience too often, especially women and girls. We often say these things have no place in our society.

“It would be more accurate to say that they should have no place, because they are still all too prevalent.”

Violence against women has been put in the spotlight after Ms Everard – a 33-year-old marketing executive – disappeared.

It triggered widespread protests from many over the everyday sexual harassment women face – even in supposedly safe cities such as London.

The fact that she was attacked by a then-serving police officer further strained tensions and raised concerns over whether the police took sexual crimes against women seriously.

A vigil for Ms Everard at Clapham Common later turned violent – prompting the Met Police to be criticised over how it handled the event.

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick later said: “My thoughts and those of everyone in the Met Police are with Sarah’s loved ones.

“It is not possible for any of us to begin imagining what they have been going through.

“I was able to speak to them earlier today, and I say again how very sorry I am for their loss and for their pain and suffering.

“All of us in the Met are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes. They are dreadful. Everyone in policing feels betrayed.”

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