UK plans to increase funding for street safety following death of Sarah Everard

UK plans to increase funding for street safety following death of Sarah Everard
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The British government plans to increase spending for neighborhood safety measures after a police officer was charged with kidnapping and murdering a woman.

In a statement Monday from the prime minister's office, officials pledged to double funding for the government's Safe Streets fund, which provides neighborhoods with security cameras and street lighting.

Officials also indicated that they will roll out a program called "Project Vigilant," which involves both plainclothes and uniformed officers patrolling bars and nightlife areas, particularly around closing time, with the goal of deterring "predatory and suspicious offenders in the night time economy."

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"We are also now taking further steps to provide greater reassurance, such as providing better lighting and greater use of CCTV in parks and routes women may take on their walks home," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. "Ultimately, we must drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to better protect and defend them."

The plans drew criticism on social media, with United Kingdom residents and others questioning whether the measures would be effective in combating violence committed by police officers. They pointed to the case of Sarah Everard as an example.

Everard, 33, was killed in early March while walking home in a south London neighborhood. Wayne Couzens, a 48-year-old active duty officer with the London metropolitan police, has been charged with her murder and kidnapping. His trial is set to begin in October.

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A vigil for Everard over the weekend devolved into violence after uniformed police officers clashed with activists.