Students join Met Police on Walk and Talk initiative

Students join Met Police on Walk and Talk initiative

New City College staff and students attended a Walk and Talk initiative in Romford with the Met Police to highlight ways of making the area safer for women and girls.

Joined by Havering’s community safety officers, around 20 female students from NCC Havering Sixth Form, answered questions about their experiences of being out in Romford and they identified areas of the town where they felt safety could be improved, suggesting upgraded CCTV, better lighting and more police presence in the area.

The Walk and Talk initiative followed on from the college’s event to mark the International Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls Day and was also part of this year’s national White Ribbon and 16 Days of Action campaigns that had the theme #ChangeTheStory.

The students were given advice on keeping safe while visiting the town’s clubs, bars and other venues and also how to report any concerns they may have. There were discussions about the difference it can make when others call out disrespectful, challenging or threatening behaviour that may make women feel uncomfortable.

One student said: “It felt empowering to join the Walk and Talk with police officers to share our thoughts on personal safety and how to bring about a positive change in Havering. It is good to know that we are being listened to.”

The initiative was organised by PC Amy Barker of Romford Police Station who said that the aim of Walk and Talk is to start a conversation between members of the public and the police so that officers can listen to safety concerns and try to bring about improvements to make women feel safer.

Emma Wood, New City College Group Head of Tutorial and Enrichment, said: “It is crucial that as a college we work with the Met Police to improve their understanding so we can tackle this prevalent issue together. It was informative for them to hear about our students’ experiences and for them to provide reassurance.”

After the Walk and Talk around the town, the police then held a Q&A session at Atik Nightclub where further discussions about tackling violence against women and girls took place.

Stay Safe Week

In conjunction with the focus on personal safety, a Stay Safe Week was held at NCC Redbridge campus where students were offered the chance to take part in various workshops run in partnership with external organisations.

There were presentations from the police on issues such as stop and search, county lines, safer neighbourhoods and transport, drugs and alcohol awareness, and sexual health awareness.