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UK funds street lights, CCTV amid anger over woman’s killing

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s government plans to increase funding for street lighting and closed-circuit TV as part of a package of measures to help protect women and girls.

The plans follow the murder of a young woman who was abducted on the streets of London earlier this month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday night that the government would more than double funding for neighborhood safety measures to 45 million pounds ($62 million). The government also plans to expand trials of a pilot project that puts plainclothes police officers in and around bars and night clubs.

The measures were announced following a meeting of government ministers, prosecutors and senior police officers that was called after the kidnapping and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard in south London sparked widespread calls for Britain to do more to improve women’s safety in public places.

Hundreds of people have joined protests in honor of Everard in central London in the past few days, despite coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.

“Ultimately, we must drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to better protect and defend them,” Johnson said in a statement.

Everard vanished March 3 while walking home in south London’s Clapham, an urban neighborhood. Her remains were found in Kent, southeast of London, about a week later. Wayne Couzens, a serving officer with the Metropolitan Police, was charged with her kidnapping and murder.

On Tuesday, Couzens appeared by video link at London’s Central Criminal Court for a brief hearing. The 48-year-old, who is remanded in a high-security prison in southeast London, spoke to confirm his name and birthdate.

A plea hearing is planned on Jul. 9, and a trial is expected in late October.

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