Statement in relation to proposed vigils/gatherings to support Reclaim These Streets
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Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, said: "We believe that a Reclaim these Streets vigil is planned to take place at St Lukes Church (the bombed out church) on Leece Street in Liverpool city centre tomorrow night (Saturday, 13 March) along with a gathering in Derby Square in the city centre.
We completely understand, that following the murder of Sarah Everard, people across the UK want to hold the event in Sarah’s memory, whilst at the same time recognising the dangers faced by women.
Following Sarah’s tragic death, women have been sharing their own experiences ranging from sexual harassment to physical and violent abuse and we know the trauma and impact this can have on victims.
We would urge women who are subjected to sexual harassment, or physical, or violent abuse to come forward to us so that we can identify offenders and make the streets safer for women who live and work in our communities, so they can live their lives to the full and without fear.
Society does need to take a strong stance against such attacks on women and we completely understand the concerns of those who support the Reclaim these Streets movement. Women should be empowered to live their lives without fear of sexual objectification, harassment, or physical and mental abuse.
Merseyside Police has made it very clear on numerous occasions that large public gatherings are not currently permitted under Coronavirus legislation as they present a serious risk to public health.
The overwhelming majority of people in Merseyside have made huge sacrifices throughout this pandemic, missing weddings, funerals and family birthday celebrations in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.
We understand that a court challenge is being heard today by the High Court, but under current legislation in place in relation to the pandemic we will have to take action if there are breaches this weekend.
We completely understand why people would want to hold this vigil and fully support the women who want to make a stand, but we would ask the organisers of events to work with us and abide by the legislation.
Social media presents a really strong platform for people and we would ask organisers to look at the potential of doing something virtual, which will keep everyone safe during this national health crisis."