Statement from Cllr Promise Knight, Lead Member for Community Safety & Engagement at Brent Council
We offer our condolences to Mina Smallman and her family following the findings of the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s report. An apology from the Police is due, but it is no substitute for action.
As a Council, we are committed to highlighting the experience of women and girls in conversations with partners, and to do our part to make addressing the underlying problems in the system a priority.
One issue we want to highlight, in the wake of this news, is reporting. Clearly, recent events are unlikely to inspire confidence in the women and girls of this borough who may be considering coming forward, and especially Black and Asian women. But I urge you not to be discouraged.
We know that sexual crimes, from cat-calling and unwanted touching, to rape, are vastly under-reported. And yet it is so important if we are to build a clearer picture of perpetrators. Those reports also help us make the argument for investing in the public services needed to address these issues in a meaningful way. In an emergency, always dial 999, or you can get in touch with the Police’s non-emergency service by calling 101 or reporting online.
For our part, we would like to develop better ways for the community to anonymously report places where they feel unsafe in the borough to the council. We are currently consulting with partners about the best way of doing this, so that we can understand and address high risk areas.
We are also planning a community forum to coincide with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence in November, giving local women and girls a chance to share their views and experiences. There will be other activities during the 16 Days and more information will be published on our website shortly.
You can view our latest Community Safety Strategy, which has more detail on how we are working to address Violence Against Women and Girls in Brent, here: www.brent.gov.uk/your-council/about-brent-council/council-structure-and-how-we-work/strategies-and-plans/community-safety-strategy