PCC-led projects receive share of £5million Safety of Women at Night Fund
Ten Police and Crime Commissioner-led projects which will make women feel safer at night in local communities have received support from the Government’s Safety of Women at Night Fund.
The fund was launched in July with up to £5million available for projects and initiatives to improve the safety of women in public spaces at night. In all there were 22 successful bids into the Safety of Women at Night Fund from civil society organisations, local authorities, and Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales.
Welcoming the funding, Bedfordshire PCC Festus Akinbusoye, Prevention Lead at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: “No-one should be made to feel scared or intimidated while they enjoy our vibrant British night-life. PCCs are committed to making our communities safer, including reducing violence against women and girls. This money will enable us to support practical solutions which make people feel safer and build an evidence base for what works.”
Northumbria PCC and Deputy Prevention Lead Kim McGuinness, one of the successful recipients, added: “In my local area, 60% of women told me they are uncomfortable moving around and using public transport at night so I am pleased this funding will help us make a difference in the short term. But to tackle violence against women and girls nationally, we all need all of society to work together to tackle the root causes of misogyny and violence.”
As a result of the Northumbria bid, there will be more dedicated late night police patrols across the region as part of Operation Cloak. Specialist support services will be readily available to victims at the earliest possible opportunity.
Other PCC-led initiatives include:
- The creation of safe routes into and out of town centres in Northamptonshire, with associated marketing and publicity, as well as work with licensees to accredit their premises as safe locations.
- In Cheshire new technology will enable victims of crime, or those who find themselves feeling vulnerable, to be in live video contact with the Force Control Room. This could support the gathering of urgent evidence.
- In Sussex funding will pay for a taxi marshal scheme, additional police patrols in key areas in the lead up to Christmas, plus awareness training on sexual harassment and violence against women and girls for licensees.
- Undercover police officers in town centres will seek to identify vulnerable women and girls, and potential offenders, in the weeks leading up to Christmas in North Wales.
- Patrols are also being stepped up in Thames Valley where funding will also support training and support for officers, venue staff, and offenders.
- In South Wales, a sexual harassment campaign will focus on cultural shift to prevent offending behaviour.
- Existing street pastors in Cumbria will be joined by newly-funded street marshalls. Money is also be directed towards a CrimeStoppers marketing campaign.
- In Staffordshire, as well as marshalls and pastors, and publicity campaigns, the funding will create 'safe routes' between public transport hubs and the busiest locations.
- And in Nottinghamshire funding will pay for additional training for people working in venues, and on the tram system, on how best to respond to perpetrators and women experiencing violence. A new Night Time Economy Charter will include specific pledges committing premises to actively demonstrate they are tackling violence against women and girls.
All of these projects will build on the efforts already underway through the £25 million third round of Safer Streets funding which included a range of interventions including educational programmes to raise awareness and more streetlights and CCTV.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Violence against women and girls in our country’s nightlife is still an awful reality for many, and horrific crimes such as sexual assault have devastating consequences. “Working with the police, local authorities and venues these innovative projects will identify and crack down on those who pose a risk and give women the practical support when they need it.
“We must use every possible tool at our disposal to ensure people feel safe at night when walking home, using transport, or enjoying a night out with friends."