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Make Tackling Violence Against Women A Police Priority

violence against women

Make tackling violence against women a police priority, says victims tsar

Police forces should be compelled to deal with violence against women and girls with the same level of resources, expertise and urgency as terrorism or organised crime, the victims commissioner for England and Wales has said.

After Sarah Everard’s killer was given a full-life sentence on Thursday, campaigners said there was increasing frustration and the time for action was now.

Vera Baird said violence against women and girls should be made a strategic policing requirement to give the issue central direction and extra resources, particularly for specialist officers, so there was “no doubt what obligations the police have towards victims”.

She said: “There are many unanswered questions about how violence against women and girls is policed and I think if we have this clear requirement it sends a clear message that tackling it is a priority.”

Baird said requirements on agencies to fully investigate and take action in cases of violence against women could be included in the victims bill, which the Guardian understands was ready to be consulted on before the new justice secretary, Dominic Raab, took up his post.

“​​Without that it will just muddle on, being ignored as if it were a low-level crime,” she said. “We have seen in this awful case that what is seen as low-level offending against women and girls can mark out a predatory attitude to them which can speedily escalate if not tackled.”

The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, led calls for an inquiry into how Everard’s killer, Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan police officer who had been reported for indecent exposure on three occasions, “slipped through the cracks”. “[We] have to understand why that happened, and whether there were any assumptions made when his previous wrongdoing was looked at,” he said.

The Labour MP Yvette Cooper went further, calling for a full independent investigation into violence against women and girls within the police service.

The home secretary, Priti Patel, said there were “serious questions that need to be answered by the Metropolitan police” while giving her backing to the Met commissioner, Cressida Dick.

The director of the Good Law Project, Jolyon Maugham, called for a public inquiry into “how cultural failings by the police and the broader criminal justice system contribute to the murder or rape of tens of thousands of women a year”. He said: “Enough really is enough. How many more women must die?”

Baird’s call echoes the recommendation of a damning root-and-branch examination by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which found “problems, unevenness and inconsistencies” in dealing with the “epidemic” of violence against female victims in the UK.

It was published as news emerged that Sabina Nessa, a primary school teacher, had been found dead in a park close to her south London home. A man has appeared in court accused of her murder.

According to the Counting Dead Women project, run by Karen Ingala Smith, 80 women were killed between the deaths of Everard in March and Nessa on 17 September.

Campaigners in the sector said there was a growing sense of anger and frustration that promises of change were not resulting in greater safety for women.

Farah Nazeer, the chief executive of Women’s Aid, said a public inquiry into men’s violence against women and girls would probably expose other institutional and government failings but was unlikely to lead to the action needed.

There was already a wealth of evidence and recommendations in the Inspectorate of Constabulary report, the government’s recently published Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy and rape review, Nazeer said. “We all know what needs to be done. But making it a matter of priority, choosing to prioritise funding into this area, choosing to make that cultural shift – these are political choices that we’re not making.”

Women’s groups welcomed what some saw as an increased level of restraint in the reporting of Couzens’ trial, with many publications choosing not to feature a prominent photograph of the murderer, while BBC Radio 4’s Today programme chose to mention Couzens by name sparingly in its reporting on Thursday and included the full victim impact statement of Everard’s mother, Susan.

“We find that women’s experience is lost so often when we talk about the impact of male violence against women and girls,” said Jayne Butler, the chief executive of Rape Crisis England and Wales. “We welcome that some outlets have chosen to focus their coverage on Sarah.”

Andrea Simon, the director of the End Violence Against Women coalition, said that despite the reviews and promises of change since Everard’s murder, little had changed.

“Violence against women and girls is at an epidemic level, the police inspectorate has said the whole system needs an overhaul, the government has already apologised for the shameful low rates of prosecution of rape. What more do we need to uncover? We actually just need to move to doing something about it,” she said. “We’ve had all of these reviews, and we’ve seen no material change. We need to get on with actually making a difference now.”

The minister for safeguarding, Rachel Maclean, said the government was committed to radically changing how violence against women and girls is tackled with a whole-system approach. She said the VAWG strategy published this summer set out “the government’s ambition to increase support for survivors, bring perpetrators to justice, and, ultimately, reduce the prevalence of violence against women and girls.”

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Osun LP Guber Candidate, Lasun Rejoins PDP

Yusuf Lasun, a former deputy speaker of the house of representatives, has rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor of Osun, Ademola Adeleke made the announcement on Wednesday at the PDP presidential rally in Osogbo, the Osun capital.

“The former deputy speaker has joined the PDP family. He used to be in PDP, but today, he has decided to come and join the PDP family,” the governor said.

Lasun, who was present at the rally, hailed supporters after a terse remark.

Lasun had contested the 2022 governorship election in Osun on the platform of the Labour Party (LP).

Adeleke came first in the election; Gboyega Oyetola of the APC placed second; Kehinde Atanda of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) came third; while Lasun came a distant fourth.

He was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) until February when he resigned from the party after losing the party’s governorship ticket.

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I Can’t Contest For President Again; It Will Diminish Me- Jonathan

Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s former president, has said he will never contest for the Presidency of the country again.

The Ex-president said it would amount to diminishing himself if he should decide to begin to lobby people and campaign for election again.

Jonathan said this in an interview published in a book, ‘My Time As Chaplain In Aso Rock,” presented to the public on Tuesday.

The book written by Nathaniel Bivan contains the accounts of the Chaplain of the Aso Rock Villa Chapel during the Jonathan administration, Obioma Onwuzurumba.

“If you wake up tomorrow and see that I am President again, that means there may have been circumstances beyond my control. But not to go and pick one form and go and start lobbying people and running for campaigns; I can’t do that again. If I do that, I will diminish myself,” the former President said.

Jonathan said he enjoyed the drama that characterised the rumour earlier in the year that he had purchased a nomination form of the All Progressives Congress to enable him to contest for the party’s presidential ticket.

Ahead of the June 2022 APC presidential primary, a group, Nomadic Pastoralists and Almajirai Community, led by Ibrahim Abdullahi, purchased the N100m nomination and expression of interest forms in Jonathan’s name.

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NMDPRA Assures Nigerians Of Steady Fuel Supply

The Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) says the queues at filling stations will soon disappear as marketers commence massive loading of petroleum products.

Mr Ahmed Farouk, Chief Executive of NMDPRA, gave the assurance during a stock monitoring exercise within depots in Lagos on Wednesday.

The NMDPRA boss led staff of the Authority to NIPCO, Total, Aiteo, OVH, Conoil, 11 Plc and HOGL depots in Apapa for on the spot assessment.

Farouk said the stock taking exercise was to ensure availability and effective distribution of petroleum products across the nation to reduce queues at filling stations.

“The essence of this exercise is to ensure that the entire states are wet with petroleum products to avoid scarcity and panic buying by commuters during this period.

“As an Authority, we are doing everything within our powers to make sure that there are enough petroleum products in the system to help alleviate the sufferings of commuters.

“With the issue of scarcity across the nation, l found it necessary that NMDPRA come and ensure that there is even distribution of petroleum products across the nation, especially petrol.

“I am comfortable with the the load-out of petrol across the depots.

“The current distribution of petrol across the nation will address the issue of tightness in the market,” he said.

The NMDPRA boss said all depots in Apapa had products and were loading massively to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other states.

He said three vessels were also discharging petrol at Apapa jetty to MOMAN, DAPPMAN and other depots.

Farouk urged Nigerians not to panic and avoid panic buying, while assuring of availability of sufficient products at filling stations across the country.

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