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07th Nov 2021

Met police criticised for plain clothes officers in clubs plan

Ellen Fitzpatrick

They are facing a lot of backlash.

The Met police’s new plan to keep women safe on the streets of London has been criticised by a campaigner group.

The new plan comes after spiking incidences across the UK have been increasing over the last number of weeks, as well as in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death.

The scheme is being piloted in two boroughs to increase the number of plain clothes officers going after perpetrators in nightclubs and bars who they suspect might be spiking someone.

The new plan has seen some severe criticism since being announced after Wayne Couzens was convicted of Sarah Everard’s murder.

In a statement announcing the move, a spokesperson said: “The Met is stepping up police activity to prevent night-time violence.

“This activity includes the Met trialling Project Vigilant, an operation originally developed by Thames Valley Police to tackle predatory offending around the night-time economy.

“It is being piloted in London in Lambeth and Southwark where teams of plain-clothed and uniform colleagues are being deployed together to identify and prevent predatory offending around busy night-time spots.”

One group called for more focus to be put on overhauling this type of culture rather than some “PR stunt”.

A spokesperson for campaign group Reclaim These Streets was not happy by the news, responding to the statement to show their anger.

They said: “How can we trust Met police officers to spot predators in bars and clubs if they can’t seem to spot and root out predators in their own ranks?

“The Met have lost the trust of women, and plainclothes officers will not win it back – instead for many women plainclothes officers outside bars is a sinister prospect.

“The Met should focus on tackling institutional misogyny instead of PR stunts like this.”

Announcing these new plans for plain clothed officers, the commissioner added: “Tackling violence remains the Met’s top priority, including crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls.

“Our officers are working tirelessly to combat violence perpetrated by men against women and to improve and rebuild confidence in the Met.

“However, we know there is much more we need and must to do to ensure women are safe and feel safe in London.

“We are committed and that means listening and acting on findings and recommendations from independent reviews, listening to what women and girls tell us and learning from best practice.”