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We should question their authority?

Met Police advice sparks controversy from women, and for good reason

By Amy Smith

Image courtesy of Martin Deutsch

It is 2021, and it is still dangerous for a woman to be in public by herself. In fact, it feels like currently it is even more dangerous than ever. Over the past few months, there have been reports of women being murdered in public, by their partners, or reported missing. From Gabby Petito to Sabina Nessa, social media has been vocal about raising awareness for these victims and letting governments know that women do not feel safe on the streets right now.

Over the past few weeks, the Sarah Everard court case concluded and found her murderer, an active officer for the Metropolitan Police, guilty; he was sentenced to life in prison with no parole. This may be a small victory for justice, but it still does not take away from the pain that Everard’s family must deal with daily, and nothing could take that away from them. Not only that, but the actions of the Metropolitan Police have been severely scrutinised given their actions since the sentencing.

It was reported by The Independent that the Metropolitan Police issued advice for women ‘who fear a male police officer might not be genuine, suggesting they call 999 or “shout out to a passer-by, run into a house or wave a bus down” for help’. It is safe to say that the internet was not okay with these comments, and rightfully so. When I heard these comments, I felt disgusted.

As a young woman, who works late nights in the city centre, I worry every night I step out into the street and wait for a way to take me home. I do everything I can to limit the chances of anything bad happening to me, such as staying in well-lit areas and familiar pathways, to holding my phone in my hand ready to give someone a call if need be. I am somebody that is afraid of any confrontation, even if it is to people years younger than me. Do the police seriously expect me to question their authority and stand up to someone twice my size and strength?

Whilst it is nice to see the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemn the comments made from the Metropolitan Police, the sad reality is that very little is being done to make sure women can get home safe. In Aberdeen, buses stop running before midnight and, with so few taxis available right now, it could take over an hour to get home safely. It is bad enough that we are left stranded in town, trying to make sure strangers don’t attack us in the middle of the street, but right now we cannot even trust the men in uniform to protect us.


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