Women describe feeling 'always on edge' as police roll out new 'Walk and Talk' scheme

  • "It's quite horrible having to worry about it all the time" - women share their concerns with ITV News' Verity Wishart surrounding women's safety

Women across the region have told ITV News they fear for their safety.

It comes as a force-wide 'Walk and Talk' by Avon and Somerset Police took place on Wednesday 17 April at 6pm.

It took place across nine locations Bath, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and Somerset.

The scheme offered the opportunity for the public to walk with officers, highlighting areas of concern, in an attempt to tackle violence against women and girls.

Megan attended the initiative in Yeovil and said safety is always a concern.

She said: "I mean you're always on edge with other people - you don't know what they're going to do.

Avon & Somerset's first 'Walk and Talk' took place in September and 63 have taken place since.

"It's quite horrible having to worry about it all the time.

"I feel less safe with men than I do with women."

Inspector Rose Green from Avon & Somerset Police implemented the scheme.

She said: "You think to yourself, if I feel unsafe, how do other people feel and as a police officer I don't want anyone to feel unsafe in their community so that was a massive drive for me.

"I think it's really important, we see with our stats that violent crimes towards women are massively disproportionate.

"We need to be able to hear women and understand why they feel unsafe and know they can come to the police and talk to us."

The first 'Walk and Talk' took place in September, with 63 taking place since.

Officer Emily Brown said it gives them "a chance to meet with someone and speak to someone face to face and get that real lived experience."

"Fortunately things usually aren't too serious, like street lighting, dark alleyways - but there can be more serious situation."

For Megan, since becoming a mother to her son, her vulnerabilities have grown.

"I feel more vulnerable looking after him as well as myself, it's trying to keep both of us safe.

"I want to teach him how to respect a women, and maybe even keep them safe as well.

"I feel like the police are actively out trying to make it safer for women so I feel like they're showing that they're doing something about it."

Avon and Somerset Police have shared data with ITV News West Country from their StreetSafe app where people can anonymously report areas of safety concerns.

To date 1,468 reports have been made via the app across the Avon and Somerset since September 2021.

  • 63% reports made are by women

  • 23% reports made are by men

  • 12.9% prefer not to say

The top concerns reported are:

  • Signs of alcohol and drug abuse, 

  • Poor or no street lighting, 

  • Absence of CCTV,

  • Loitering and intimidation.

The force has been working to address these issues with the implementation of CCTV and high visibility targeted patrols.

People can anonymously report areas of safety concerns via the StreetSafe app. Credit: Avon & Somerset Police