Derbyshire councillor slams Met Police for ‘embarassing’ attempt to protect women’s safety

A Derbyshire councillor has slammed London’s Metropolitan Police for their ‘embarassing’ attempt to support women’s safety after officers took to the streets to conduct random drugs swabs on clubbers.

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 4:03 pm
Councillor Ross Shipman, leader of the Liberal Democrats on North East Derbyshire District Council, has hit out at the Met Police

Footage posted to social media on Sunday showed taskforce officers carrying out swabs in Shoreditch, east London, as part of a “wider operation to ensure the night time economy is a safe space for all”.

The force has since confirmed that tests were carried out as a condition of entry at two licensed premises as part of a ‘week of action’ “supporting women’s safety” in early December.

On the night of the operation in Shoreditch, 15 voluntary searches were conducted and one woman was arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs after she was observed disposing of a suspicious package.

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However, social media users have since slammed the Met for randomly swabbing clubbers, with some describing the operation as ‘incredibly invasive’.

After sharing the footage, the force said officers came together to work in areas which have seen a spike in incidents where women and girls have been made to feel unsafe or have been victims of crime.

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Councillor Ross Shipman, Liberal Democrat Leader of North East Derbyshire Council, was among those who slammed the Met.

The footage posted by the Met Police showed officers conducting random drugs swabs in Shoreditch

Responding to the video and subsequent statement, he said: “You should actually be embarrassed that this is what you came up with to protect women.”

Another person wrote: “Please explain exactly how any of this made women any safer? The floor is yours.”

While another commented: “What does 'ensure the night time economy is a safe place for all' mean? Randomly swabbing members of the public seems incredibly invasive.”

Speaking to the Derbyshire Times afterwards, Coun Shipman said: “They’re trying to say it’s to protect women but there’s literally no evidence to suggest that swabbing people going into venues protects women whatsoever.

"They arrested one person and it was a woman – how is that protecting women? What they should have been doing is offering safe spaces for women and men that are unable to carry on their night as they normally would.”

He added: “It’s an absolute PR stunt. They want to look like they’re being tough on people that are taking drugs because for some reason they think that's the cause of women feeling unsafe.”

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