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Home Affairs and Guernsey Police statement on Sarah Everard death

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Thursday 18 March 2021

Home Affairs and Guernsey Police are committing to make every effort to give women in Guernsey reassurance that they are safe in the community.

The Committee for Home Affairs and Guernsey Police have been closely following events - and the subsequent actions and discussions following the tragic death of Sarah Everard in the UK and wanted to show their support for all women in the island who have ever felt unsafe in their community.

While the Committee and Guernsey Police continue to believe that the Bailiwick is a safe jurisdiction in which to live and work, it is certainly not immune from crime and that includes those committed against women.

Guernsey Police would like to emphasise that efforts will be made to improve upon this area of its safeguarding and enforcement work. There remains much work to be done to protect everyone from crimes like sexual harassment, which can have long-lasting consequences on someone's life. Women in our community need to be able to feel safe at all times, whether out or at home, during day or night.

Guernsey Police is aware of the planned vigil on this issue and is actively engaging with organisers to facilitate the event. The organisation is continually seeking opportunities to reassess the way it deals with allegations of crime committed against women, including sexual harassment. Police officers will continue to take a strong approach in this area when patrolling the night time economy. It will also continue listening to the community about how it can improve service delivery and the way it enforces the law in offences against women - starting with attendance at the upcoming vigil on Tuesday 23rd March. Other stakeholders are encouraged to engage and play their part in addressing these issues.

Head of Law Enforcement, Chief Officer Ruari Hardy, said:

"News in recent days and weeks has sparked nationwide conversations about violence against women, highlighting and amplifying the fear women carry as they simply go about their daily lives, scared that they may become victims of sexual harassment or worse. It is unacceptable that women should feel unsafe. We all need to challenge perpetrators of this appalling behaviour in a way that delivers meaningful change and Law Enforcement must play our part in this. The bottom line is simple: women in Guernsey should be able to enjoy their lives, including the night-time economy and the right to return home safely afterwards, without having to worry. To truly achieve this, so that it can be clear that as a community we do not tolerate it, we are going to need a culture shift across society.

Therefore, as an organisation, we need to listen to our community and work together to foster greater support for women, and give them the reassurance that they will be safe. We will also be reviewing the new measures announced in the UK to see how they could work within our local setting, and reviewing what else we can do to confront sexual harassment and violence. Our goal is to keep the Bailiwick safe and secure; having a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and violence towards women will be key to achieving this."

Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:

"Guernsey continues to be a safe and secure island in which to live and work, and maintaining that is a key strategic objective of the Committee. However, it is very important to recognise that we are not immune as a community to the sorts of behaviours and criminal activity that can lead to women feeling unsafe. All right-thinking members of our community would agree that this is unacceptable and it takes a community effort to combat. Women should never have to look over their shoulder when walking home at night in Guernsey. While we are a safe island, we must not rest on our laurels as more can always be done to make us all feel safer. The Committee has closely monitored discussions on this topic since the tragic events in England over the past week, and is committed to continuing working closely with Bailiwick Law Enforcement to support strategy and policy developments in this area so that all women feel safe ALL of the time."

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