Harrow Council said it is committed to improving the lives of women in contact with the criminal justice system as it pledged its support for a London-wide initiative.

Its cabinet agreed to back a blueprint devised by the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) which seeks to address issues faced by women in the system.

This includes reducing the number of women being sent to prison, supporting family members and ensuring there are programmes in place to enhance rehabilitation.

Cllr Krishna Suresh, responsible for crime and community cohesion at Harrow Council, said the council’s main aim should be to “have fewer women in touch with crime”.

He added that the needs of women have been “lost” compared to men since there are fewer of them in contact with the criminal justice system.

The MOPAC blueprint notes that local authorities are “uniquely placed” to ensure the local needs of women are identified and met.

They form part of the multi-agency campaign to advance the rights of female Londoners in contact with the criminal justice system, particularly following the closure of the local women’s prison HMP Holloway.

The programme includes the need to support children whose mothers are in prison and plans to tackle the links between women involved in crime and homelessness.

It also seeks to build on existing schemes, working with the Metropolitan Police and the charity and voluntary sector.

Cllr Graham Henson, leader of Harrow Council, said it was “important” to support this work since women have been “disproportionately disadvantaged”.

He and his cabinet colleagues were quick to support the campaign, provided the council has the necessary means to do so.