Ealing Lib Dem leader Gary Malcolm on women's safety and less gesture politics

By Guest

6th Jan 2022 | Opinion

Councillor Gary Malcolm on Acton Green
Councillor Gary Malcolm on Acton Green

A few days ago, the Labour Mayor-led Metropolitan Police did a random "drugs test" in the streets of Shoreditch, proclaiming that it was for "women's safety". This was widely regarded as a PR stunt which most comments call "embarrassing".

If the police or any politician want to solve an issue then they need to listen, research and come up with ideas that show that the problem can be fixed or reduced.

When the violent attack took place against a woman in an Acton Green toilet a few months ago many local residents were very concerned, understandably.

Because of the event, local Liberal Democrats commissioned a women's safety survey for our ward's residents to understand what views women had on the subject of crime, fear of crime, safety, amongst others related topics.

One of the major findings was that the reduction in the light in the evening and night has made women feel less safe. This dimming took place in 2016 by Ealing Labour without consulting residents.

Another topics raised was that many people had not seen the local police team in Southfield (called the Safer Neighbourhood Team known as "SNT") patrolling. Part of this might be that there were 6 members of the police team but now there appears to be only three members of the police team due to cuts made by both the Tory Government and Labour Mayor of London.

The Liberal Democrats have actually listened to women in the area and want to see the Council reverse the dimming and local police teams increased in size to increase visibility.

Previously Liberal Democrat councillors installed lighting across Acton Green. This came from feedback, particularly from women who felt afraid to cross the park coming home from Turnham Green tube at night. We have also installed lighting in three of the five paths in Southfield Rec, so people can feel safe travelling between Acton to Chiswick in the late evenings or the dark mornings especially in Winter time.

Your local Liberal Democrat councillors, with the support of London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, has relentlessly fought against the closure of Chiswick Police Station, and its permanent reopening when it was briefly re-opened during late 2020. We have not given up on this as local police stations are key to an increased visibility of the police.

Instead of spending money and resources on pointless, and frankly useless PR stunts, why can't London Labour and the police focus their priorities on actually listening to women, putting more patrols on the streets to stem off harassment, and keep our police stations open!


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