Police create ‘safe spaces’ for women and girls at New Year celebrations

London’s annual firework display attracts tens of thousands revellers (Getty Images)
London’s annual firework display attracts tens of thousands revellers (Getty Images)

Special “safe zones” will be set-up to protect women and girls at London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations on the banks of the Thames.

The Met will work with Safer Spaces, a charity that works to prevent sexual violence, harassment and domestic abuse at festivals and events.

Women and girls can go to the designated space, which will be located along Duncannon Street near Trafalgar Square, if they feel unsafe or threatened or need of advice,

Specially trained professionals from safeguarding backgrounds will be present in the “safe zone”.

The announcement comes after a string of scandals that have eroded women’s trust in the police force, including the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer Wayne Couzens in March last year and the conviction of two officers for sharing photographs of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, who were found stabbed to death in June 2020.

Thousands of Met officers will be on duty on Saturday across London boroughs. Additional resourcing will also be in place in central London.

Commander Karen Findlay, who will lead the New Year’s Eve operation said: “Plans have been carefully considered and we are delighted to be working with our trusted partners in preparation for a return to another fantastic New Year’s Eve in London,” said Commander Karen Findlay, who will lead the New Year’s Eve operation.

“We will have officers out in every pocket of London on hand to help. They are going to be working hard with stewarding partners to ensure safety is a priority.

“We want everyone, however they decide to bring in 2023, to have a great night with friends and loved ones. We will have officers out in every pocket of London on hand to help, they are going to be working hard with stewarding partners to ensure safety is a priority. So please come and speak to us if you need our support or spot something that doesn’t look right. We want to be able to take the necessary and appropriate action at an early stage to manage any concerns.”

The mayor’s firework display along the Victoria Embankment is a ticket only event. No-one will be permitted entrey without a ticket.

People without a ticket will not be permitted entrance.