Sir Keir Starmer hears women's safety concerns on estate walkabout

MP says he's 'here to be challenged'

Tuesday, 22nd February — By Isabelle Stanley

starmerwalkabout Image 2022-02-17 at 22.30.01 (11)

The Holborn and St Pancras MP is invited to Regent’s Park estate by council crime chief Nadia Shah

RESIDENTS told Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer they did not always feel safe on the Regent’s Park estate.

The Holborn and St Pancras MP joined a “walkabout” with tenants and the council’s community safety chief Councillor Nadia Shah on Friday, organised in response to concerns about violence against women and girls.

Around 30 people pointed out areas where they felt unsafe, including dark tunnels which have been created by scaffolding that has been left up for nine months, and in Everton Mews, where Mr Starmer was told people witnessed drug dealing close to a primary school.

One young woman said about Clarence Gardens, the scene of a drive-by shooting last summer: “It feels like we’re trapped in this square of buildings. It doesn’t feel safe.”

Kelly Strong, chair of the tenants’ association, said: “All these issues were raised on the initial walkarounds after the shooting [last August] on the estate. “There was a flurry of activity and then it dwindled out. It was great and then it all stopped. So we’ll have to wait and see what happens now.”

Cllr Shah said: “We’re here to see through the eyes of the women who live here. All women replan our journeys all the time based on the people we see walking towards us, or someone we see on the other side of the road.

“We started this model of walkabouts because we wanted a diverse range of residents to come along. People have all different places they feel unsafe. We know we have an issue of under-reporting of issues – people don’t feel they can report not feeling safe with the scaffolding or things like that, but they can and that’s why we do this.”

Mr Starmer said: “This is the first safety walkabout I’ve been on and I really welcome the opportunity. We have to make it safer for women and girls in any way we can. So, I’m here to be challenged. We need to see what we can fix and get on with it.”


PC Elloise Neale, who has just joined the ward’s neighbourhood policing team, said: “If people feel unsafe or notice any areas they feel nervous walking through, they can report it on our Street Safe service.

“This helps inform the police so local teams can patrol those areas more and liaise with the council for intervention. This informa­tion is vital in knowing where issues might be occurring. However, if you ever feel in danger, please call 999 or report crime on 101.”

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