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Surrey Police Want to Lead in Changing Attitudes Towards Women

Published on: 23 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 24 Apr, 2021

Chief Constable Gavin Stephens

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

Surrey’s police chief says he wants the force to be at the forefront of changing society’s attitude towards women.

Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said Surrey Police want to take a “civic leadership role” in showing “just how abhorrent and unacceptable this [violence against women] is in our society today”.

But this could not be solved through policing and the criminal justice system alone, he said, suggesting bystanders and neighbours call out misogynistic behaviour.

Surrey Police know of at least 1,000 repeat perpetrators of domestic abuse, and believe there are many more.

“When you look at the volume of it, this is not something policing can do on its own, to change the way our society works,” CC Stephens said.

“To change in particular men’s attitude towards women, this is something that needs a whole societal response.”

He said the force wanted to “work with others and look for interventions that drive behaviour change”, and suggested “bystanders, neighbours, people on the street stepping forward more to call out behaviour” and “educational activity”, particularly with young boys, about how healthy relationships evolve.

“There’s a lot for us to do as a society, and from Surrey Police point of view we want to be front and centre of that.”

He is urging women in Surrey to share their concerns on personal safety, be they out on the street or behind closed doors.

An anonymous survey is collecting stories of women’s day-to-day experiences and if there are any particular locations women feel unsafe.

Surrey Police has already had thousands of responses since launching the survey a week ago, inspired by Cumbria Police’s Call It Out campaign after the death of Sarah Everard in London.

Marking National Stalking Awareness Week, CC Stephens said: “We absolutely want to know about it and follow up on it. The courts are seeing these cases with the seriousness they deserve.”

Officers are trained to look out for patterns of fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repetitive behaviour.

“They can result in some significant sentences,” he added. Stalkers can get up to 10 years in prison.

Surrey has the fourth-lowest level of stalking and harassment of all counties in England and Wales, with only Wiltshire, North Yorkshire and Hertfordshire having fewer recorded cases for the year ending September 2020.

The anonymous survey can be completed here until May 3. Information on support services can be found here.

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test One Response to Surrey Police Want to Lead in Changing Attitudes Towards Women

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    April 23, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    I believe there many more gentlemen who open the door to ladies than thugs who commit assault. I also believe, and no one has proved me wrong, there are as many objectionable events with women verbally and emotionally abusing men, as the reverse. Sadly the chief constable is following a “woke” agenda which could lead to an assumption of guilt for male suspects.

    We need balanced, impartial policing.

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