Councillors back calls for more CCTV, lighting and 'Ask for Angela' scheme following spate of 'shocking' attacks on women

East Riding councillors have backed a call to bolster safety measures for women following a spate of recent “shocking” attacks.

East Riding councillors have backed a call to bolster safety measures for women

Councillors backed a Liberal Democrat motion which called for lighting, CCTV and other security measures to be increased in public places and more support for safety schemes.

Liberal Democrat opposition leader Councillor David Nolan said it was “appalling” that women were afraid to go out alone, particularly following rapes in Hull and the killing of Sarah Everard.

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Councillor Jonathan Owen, leader of the Conservative run council, said Ms Everard’s and Sabina Nessa’s deaths were “shocking and tragic”, adding “every effort” would be made to keep women safe.

He spoke in response to a question from Conservative Councillor Leo Hammond who asked what the council was doing to bolster women’s safety following the killing of Ms Everard.

The debate on the motion, tabled at East Riding Council’s full meeting on Wednesday, October 6, saw councillors discuss their own experiences of attacks and of working on such cases.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Linda Johnson said she was told she should have thought about “wearing a longer skirt” after being assaulted in her 20s.

She added victims were often put off reporting assaults to the police which sent the message that attackers could “get away with it”.

Conservative Councillor Claire Holmes said the issue was “close to my heart” after working to prosecute sexual offenders before entering politics.

She added the issue extended beyond attacks in public places, calling for focus on domestic violence as well as backing the promotion of the Ask For Angela scheme.

The scheme allows women to ask staff in bars, pubs and other venues if ‘Angela is working’ if a man makes them feel uncomfortable so they can be taken to safety.

But some councillors said they felt the call did not go far enough or did not address the problem at its source, or was misguided, despite supporting it.

Independent Councillor Geraldine Mathieson said the “fear” of attacks was often more to blame than the prevalence of violence against women in reality, adding the East Riding was “very safe”.

Conservative Councillor Charlie Bayram said that the issue was ultimately one which the police would have to tackle.

Coun Nolan said issues around women’s safety should not be “pushed under the carpet”.

The Liberal Democrat leader said: “The murder of Sarah Everard was particularly shocking because it was done by a serving police officer.

“There’s been an investigation into why but that’s not the end of the matter.

“Since Sarah’s death there’s been a further 80 women who’ve died following attacks in the last six months.

“Sabina Nessa was killed in a public park, locally we’ve had two rapes in Hull which are currently under investigation.

“This tragic death should be a spur for us to take what action we can, we need better lighting in parks and more CCTV cameras, that’s been done in Hessle after women raised concerns about safety.

“We should also encourage schools and colleges to promote safety schemes such as Ask For Angela.”

Council leader Coun Jonathan Owen said: “The killing of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa were shocking and tragic and we all share the concerns around women’s safety.

“We’ll help all our partner agencies better target their resources to ensure the East Riding remains safe.

“We’re making every effort to stop violence against women and girls.”