More than 300 City of London Police officers and staff have been introduced to the BE LADS Campaign, an initiative to help women feel safer when walking alone.
The BE LADS Campaign was created by Guernsey-based Poppy Murray in the wake of the case of Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving Metropolitan police officer in March 2021. Be Lads is an acronym for advice the public can follow to help reduce women’s fears for their safety when walking alone. The advice is:
- Be Visible
- Ease the tension by making a phone call
- Look away, don’t stare
- Active bystander
- Distance yourself
- Suggest walking your friends home
Since its launch, the campaign has been adopted within educational settings, as well as the public and private sector. In April, Miss Murray became the first civilian to present at the annual UN HeForShe UK Police Ally event.
City of London Police Public and Personal Safety Trainer, PC Garry Shuttleworth, attended the event and then reached out to Miss Murray to enquire about bringing BE LADS to his force.
Poppy Murray said: “When I was asked to present to officers from across the UK, I hoped the campaign would be well-received, but the response far exceeded my expectations. Garry immediately saw the value in BE LADS as a tool to raise awareness of issues surrounding violence against women and girls and to give practical advice to men on how they can support women.
“I delivered the first session to City of London officers in August, and then two more sessions in September and November. To have seen more than 300 officers and staff volunteer their time to listen to me is a testament not only to how many officers within the force are actively looking for ways to improve safety for women in their community, but also to Garry’s enthusiasm and support as an ambassador for BE LADS.”
Since April, Miss Murray has presented BE LADS to several police forces across the UK including the Metropolitan Police Service, Gwent, Merseyside, Surrey & Sussex and West Mercia. She also presented at a National Police Chief’s Council Practice Sharing Event earlier this month.
Poppy Murray continued: “The traction BE LADS has gained within UK policing has been phenomenal. The presentation details the BE LADS advice and addresses issues surrounding public trust and confidence in the police. I feel incredibly fortunate that over the last six months I have met countless officers who represent the very best of policing and who have demonstrated that they are actively looking to rebuild positive relationships with the public.”
City of London Police is a White Ribbon accredited organisation, with all officers pledging to support efforts to tackle violence against women.
City of London Police Public and Personal Safety Trainer, PC Garry Shuttleworth said: “Listening to Poppy speak at a conference early in 2023 and the reaction from the room I knew there was a need to bring Poppy’s voice and stories to as many people as I could.
“Her presentation tackles head on the psychological burden that all women go through often during the most basic tasks that men take for granted like walking home.
“We’re very grateful to Poppy for starting this conversation and presenting it in such an engaging and thoughtful way. As Poppy says, ‘it’s not all men, but it is all women’ and the City of London Police is proud to support the BE LADS campaign.”