The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) hosted its first ever event aimed to reach out to and empower young females from multi-faith backgrounds.
Over 300 young women, aged between 14 and 25, attended the event 'Girls Allowed' held at the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, Westminster.
Those attending were drawn from some of the most diverse communities in London and included residents from Hackney, Southwark, Haringey and Newham.
The event, opened by Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime, Sophie Linden on Thursday, 3 November, was aimed at building positive relations with girls and young women from different faith groups with the police.
Detective Chief Inspector Shabnam Chaudhri spoke to the audience, most of whom would not ordinarily have been in contact with the police.
She explained how the MPS wanted to do something different to inspire younger women, at an early age, to achieve their ambitions and goals.
The event forms part of ongoing outreach work with young women from across London, aimed at tackling domestic abuse, hate crime and other concerns within multi-cultural communities.
It is also aimed to create a positive environment in which the audience would feel confident to report crime and even consider the MPS as a future employer. It is hoped they will take this positive experience back into their communities.
The day consisted of a number of presentations which included Newham police officers demonstrating personal safety awareness. There were speakers from Tell MAMA, a charity supporting victims of anti-Muslim hate crime and a presentation from an Asian Development Worker from The Havens, which is a sexual assault referral centres. These centres are jointly run by the NHS and MPS and ensure victims of rape and sexual assault get the appropriate help and support they need.
The afternoon saw a 'Choose a life not a knife' presentation from PC Amanda Miller, a youth engagement lead from Redbridge Borough. She explained to the audience how the Volunteer Police Cadets have been working to encourage thousands of Londoners to pledge their support to stop knife crime. As the concept began to take shape the cadets realised they wanted to go beyond creating awareness; they wanted to empower young people to show their support to stop knife crime and the on-line '#ChooseALifeNotAKnife' pledge was born.
During lunch, guests were entertained with music from Five 'O', a band whose members are made up of police officers and police staff. They were then treated to a song sang by DCI Shabnam Chaudhri.
Assistant Commissioner Helen King, who closed the event, said: "What an amazing event this has been. The girls have shown that they are not just 'Allowed' but determined to bring about change in their lives, communities and this city. We have all taken inspiration and ideas from each other and these girls give me great confidence in the future of this city."
Detective Chief Inspector Shabnam Chaudhri, organiser of the event, said: "This was a great opportunity for the women and girls who attended the event to take back their positive experiences with the police to their communities. It is hoped that they will speak to friends and family about the messages they have heard today and the importance of engaging with police to offer reassurance and to help keep their communities safe.
"The event will help to give police an insight into what their concerns are, interpretations and what the female police perspective is on police interaction. It will also assist the Met on how to build, foster and forge greater confidence in young women across multi-cultural communities."
Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime Sophie Linden said: "I want every Londoner, no matter what their gender, faith or background, to be able to have trust in the police and know that our officers are working hard on their behalf. Events such as this are a great opportunity to meet with young women of different faiths from all over London and help to build that trust."