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THE Tories are facing a backlash over plans to deploy undercover officers in bars and clubs in response to the death of Sarah Everard.
Downing Street said on Monday that it will be taking a series of measures to improve security, including sending plain-clothes officers to patrol night clubs and bars.
Centre for Women’s Justice director Harriet Wistrich branded the plans “frankly bizarre” today, especially at a time when women’s trust in the police is low.
“Many women will now be quite rightly asking: ‘But who will protect me from the plain-clothes officer?’” she said.
Police were accused of heavy-handed tactics against women at a vigil for Ms Everard, whose body was found last week after she went missing while walking home in south London.
The plans were also criticised in light of the spycops scandal, which saw female activists deceived into relationships with undercover officers.
“Undercover policing has recently been exposed as providing an opportunity for police officers to abuse their cover in forming inappropriate sexual contact with women,” Ms Wistrich said.
“This initiative needs much more informed consideration.”
Labour MP Nadia Whittome ridiculed the plans on Twitter, saying: “I must’ve missed the calls from vigils, protests and women’s organisations for undercover police in clubs.”
Good Night Out Campaign, a group set up to tackle sexual harassment in clubs, said the proposals felt like a knee-jerk response.
“People already find it hard to report concerns to clearly identifiable staff and security because of fear of not being believed,” the group said. “The presence of plain-clothed officers won’t challenge male entitlement or increase reporting.”
Government plans to improve safety for women include better street lighting and CCTV cameras.
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