For women and marginalised people, nightlife can offer a place of freedom. Boris Johnson’s proposal will do the opposite
Amid a national reckoning about women’s safety, the government has shown that it has little understanding of what actually makes women safe. In response to an outcry following the abduction and death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, No 10 has announced new measures to protect women from sexual harassment and assault, including a proposal from Boris Johnson that plainclothes police officers will patrol bars and clubs at night to “identify predatory and suspicious offenders”.
Few women have requested these measures, which seem bizarrely irrelevant to the issue at hand. Increasing the presence of undercover police in bars and clubs would have done nothing to prevent the conditions of Everard’s death as we currently understand them; her killing took place during a pandemic, she was not in a bar or a club, and the man charged in association with her kidnapping and murder wasn’t a civilian, but a serving police officer. In light of all this, how could the presence of more police, invisibly woven into the fabric of women’s everyday lives, possibly make us feel safer?