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The Mayor of London’s Women’s Night Safety Charter, which is dedicated to ensuring the capital is a place where all women should be able to feel confident and welcome at night, has been backed by the Co-op.

With around 190 convenience stores serving communities up until 10 or 11 o’clock at night across London and Greater London, the retailer has put its name to the ‘first of its kind’ charter which is a pan-London initiative developed to encourage councils, businesses, venues and other organisations to prioritise women’s safety, and their perception of safety, after dark.

The news has been announced today (Thursday, 9 March) as the Women’s Night Safety Charter Summit takes place at London Excel.

Jenny Alleyne, Co-op’s Head of Risk and Compliance, said: “Co-op operates at the heart of local life and, nothing is more important to us than the safety of our colleagues, customers and communities. We follow the principals of the Charter which mean those seeking a safe haven in the Co-op will be welcomed, encouraged to report their concerns and, above all, believed - as a convenience retailer, our doors are open late into the night, and we want people to know that Co-op is always a welcome light for women and girls who feel unsafe after dark.”

London Night Czar, Amy Lamé, said: “All women and girls should feel safe working, travelling or going out at night in our city, and we all have a part to play to ensure that is the case. I am delighted that Co-op have become the first supermarket to join the Women’s Night Safety Charter, with their chain of stores joining more than 1,200 organisations, including venues, gyms, charities, councils and businesses across London, who have pledged to improve women’s safety.”

The Charter sets out seven pledges:

  • Nominate a champion in your organisation who actively promotes women’s night safety
  • Demonstrate to staff and customers that your organisation takes women’s safety at night seriously, for example through a communications campaign
  • Remind customers and staff that London is safe, but tell them what to do if they experience harassment when working, going out or travelling
  • Encourage reporting by victims and bystanders as part of your communications campaign
  • Train staff to ensure that all women who report are believed
  • Train staff to ensure that all reports are recorded and responded to
  • Design your public spaces and work places to make them safer for women at night

Though it is a London-based initiative, local shops in all areas are being encouraged to take part, to ensure the safety of everyone entering their stores.

The Association of Convenience Stores has suggested simple steps c-stores can take to make women feel safer at night.