Women use experiences to offer safety insights about Redbridge

Redbridge women's safety walk

The Women's Safety Walk, undertaken as part of Redbridge Action Week, which began on Wednesday, July 21. - Credit: Andrew Credgington

An inaugural Women's Safety Walk has taken place as part of Redbridge Action Week.

The week is part of a wider crime-tackling initiative which has been made the remit of Redbridge's recently-launched Community Crime Commission (CCC).

Chaired by Dr Javed Khan OBE - who is also chief executive of Barnardo’s - the CCC has been tasked with creating a set of crime-busting recommendations to be presented later this year.

As part of the work already undertaken, Dr Khan has stressed the importance of inter-agency collaboration to suppress crime.

Women's Safety Walk Redbridge

L-R: Cllr Vanisha Solanki, Cllr Helen Coomb, Redbridge Women's Champion Cllr Saima Ahmed, Council Leader Jas Athwal and resident April Mehmet. Officers from the Met Police pictured either side. - Credit: Andrew Credgington

That advice prompted the idea of an action week involving all relevant bodies.

The safety walk, hosted by Redbridge Coucil, took place on Monday (July 26) and was led by women from across the borough who offered insight on how Redbridge could be made safer.

Part of that group was April Mehmet, who founded Walk It Out, a project intended to empower women through walking together. 

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Pleased by being given the invite, April attended with fellow members of the group.

She told the Recorder: "We are hoping that making changes and raising awareness for women in the borough will give all females hope and confidence to be able to walk the streets and parks across Redbridge.

Women's safety walk in Redbridge

There were four groups, with each walking to one corner of the borough. The focus throughout was on how to make Redbridge a safer place for women. - Credit: Andrew Credgington

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"I want all females to know they are not alone and that Walk It Out is here to support women."

About 46 women attended and they were split into four groups which covered all corners of the borough.

With the feedback reportedly overwhelmingly positive, a council spokesperson has confirmed this will not be a one-off - although the finer details are to be confirmed.

Women's safety walk in Redbridge

Officer pictured with Cllrs Ahmed and Athwal. - Credit: Redbridge MPS

Council leader Jas Athwal described the inaugural walk as "an incredibly important moment for the borough".

Cllr Athwal said: "On the walk we gathered lots of useful information about problem areas and behaviours which we can now develop a plan to address.

"Our council teams have already begun work on the improvements suggested by local women and girls."

He added that the Redbridge Women's Champion, Cllr Saima Ahmed, will continue striving for local engagement through hosting virtual and in-person events.

Women's safety walk in Redbridge

One of the groups walking through Ilford town centre. - Credit: Andrew Credgington

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