'What value is there on women's lives?' asks Coventry Women's charity as police ramp up efforts

Words by ITV News Central Production Journalist Bron Mills

Police forces nationally have spoken out about the way Sarah Everard's death has impacted them, and pledged to make a difference in their regions.

ITV News Central has spoken to Coventry Haven Women's Aid Development and Funding officer, Jamie Richards, about the police's response.

It comes as Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, Dave Thompson spoke passionately this week about the impact Ms Everard's murder had on policing.

Mr Thompson has also outlined the expectations he has for police attitudes, behaviour and culture.

In a blog, the Chief Constable wrote: "I cannot think of anything quite like this in policing's history. I am sure you feel as sick as I do.

"There has been a great deal said about policing in the last few days. Most of it has been bad.

"This blog is primarily aimed at my fellow male officers. To the dads, brothers, husbands, grandads, partners and sons who work with me in policing."

Meanwhile, Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Phillip Seccombe, has secured over £200,000 of additional funding to help make women and girls safer in public spaces.

Women across the UK have been speaking out about fearing for their safety. Credit: PA

This cash boost will be focused on the areas that women have identified as places they feel unsafe during a survey earlier this year.

The PCC said: "It's important that we take a holistic approach to improving women's safety, which also looks at how we can change the behaviour of men who are violent to women."

"The responsibility for such violence always remains with the perpetrator, never the victim, and where there is genuine desire to change behaviour it is important this is supported and encouraged."

Every Saturday night, police officers are out in towns and cities in an effort to make people feel safer.

According to West Midlands Police (WMP), they are now focusing on men who they believe want to harm women through intimidation or physical or sexual violence.

In July in Wolverhampton, police witnessed a man walking with a woman while carrying her bag. The woman reportedly made gestures to the Safe Haven team, and the police intervened.

WMP said: "Something didn't seem right. He told us they were a couple, but when we spoke to her alone, she revealed he was a stranger".

A 43-year-old man from Wolverhampton was charged with kidnap.

So, what are West Midlands Police doing to make women safer?

Broadstreet, Birmingham Credit: WM Police

Patrolling secluded, quieter, darker areas - and checking in on women and vulnerable people who are out on their own, or in small groups, to make sure they're ok

These are areas where people typically feel more at risk. During one of these patrols, officers arrested a man who was later charged with indecent exposure.

Ms Richards from Coventry Haven Women's Aid told ITV Central: "This is important so that women can feel a bit safer, but from what time? We're not safe inside our homes or outside in public spaces. Soon, it's going to be dark again at 4pm."

"If we knew the exact times, you'd probably feel safer.

"I don't even feel safe with my dog and I know she would protect me. We still walk with keys in our hands. Going for a run in the evenings, you have to find someone to go with you."

Building a picture of the men who display predatory and concerning behaviour towards women

With an increased presence, they are using individual incidents to better understand the signs, work to stop them from materialising, and where they should focus their efforts to prevent crime. Officers can issue a Community Protection Notice, or CPN to those who are regularly displaying concerning behaviour.

There are concerns it is easy for perpetrators to mask the signs and behaviour from peers, as well as from police officers.

Coventry Haven Women's Aid said: "Abusers are expert level at manipulation and letting people see their different side, it's what keeps it hidden for so long and so well."

"They portray themselves as the nicest men - I don't understand what red signs they (the police) are going to see, are they informed enough to recognise these signs. A five minute conversation is totally not going to work."

Working with schools about treating each other with respect

Working alongside West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit, the police are working in schools and talking to pupils about what is, and isn't, appropriate.

Ms Richards added: "This is crucial, we should be in schools from reception teaching them about gender stereotypes about respect, consent and relationships.

"Going into older years is far too late, it needs to be part of the curriculum from the start. The schools will be aware of which children are being subjected to things they shouldn't be at home."

Handing out colour changing wristbands

These wristbands are 'Drink Check Wristbands' that change colour if a drink has been spiked.

They are also working with the NHS to raise awareness of the signs to look out for when someones drink has been spiked.

Ms Richards said wristbands sound like a good idea if women and girls will put them on.

She added: "However, again all of these measures putting in place - it's all about the victim making herself safe, when actually we should be making perpetrators responsible.

"Not putting the ones on victims. We need to stop men from doing these things.

"This 888 idea, we've already got the Hollie Guard app that does the same thing. We need to higher prison sentences and giving judges and magistrates more power."

Concluding his blog, Chief Constable Dave Thompson sets out his personal ambition to make policing an "exemplar" for the right attitudes and approaches to women.

"Ensure in our manner and appearance we look the professionals that people would seek help from.

Be confident and resolve to call out and report behaviour from a colleague that concerns us.

Make sure we do the best we can do in the cases we deal with where violence has been used against women.

Discuss with your female colleagues how they feel about behaviour on your team. If you don't have many women in your team why is that?."