Students from New City College Havering Sixth Form joined local Met Police officers for a Walk & Talk initiative where they had the opportunity to share their thoughts on safety in the community and point out improvements that could be made for women to feel safer.
The students are part of a group called Here Come the Girls that actively promotes safety for women and other important topics.
They set off on the walk with the officers after college in the darkness and pointed out a number of issues, such as poor lighting along certain roads, dark bus stops where they sometimes have a long wait because the buses are full and do not stop, a lack of any staff at stations which adds to a feeling of isolation, and some very poorly lit platforms.
Police officers listened to their concerns and will now speak to Havering Council and TfL with suggestions on how women’s safety could be improved.
Safeguarding Lead at New City College Havering Sixth Form, Emma Wood, said: “It is important to find out from our students where they do not feel safe outside, particularly when it is dark and they are making their way home, and what we can do in the community to help improve women’s safety. This is a great initiative and we are making sure our students know we are listening to them and that there is support available for them.”
The Walk & Talk initiative was part of the college’s Staying Safe Week where there were a range of activities to promote student safety and raise awareness of support organisations.
Activities included the presentation of a bleed kit from community campaigner Sue Hedges, visits from Wize Up (Havering’s Drug and Alcohol Support Service) who ran an information stall, and the organisation Consent who ran workshops to inform students about facts and figures in relation to sexual assault, the importance of consent, and maintaining healthy relationships.
Tutorials were held on the use of vapes, cigarettes, cannabis and other drugs, the legal risks, and how they affect people’s health, and the students made pledges about how they could keep themselves safe – such as by letting people know they were home after a night out.