Earlier this year, the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, together withDurham Constabulary, submitted two bids to the Home Office’s £18.3 millionSafer Streets Fund, which provides money to evidence-based initiatives across the country that aim to make streets safer and clamp down on burglary and vehicle theft.
Both bids were successful, resulting in £333,290 being awarded to Darlington (town centre and surrounding streets) and £505,294 for Easington. The bid had to meet exacting crime prevention criteria and the funding will be used to pay for several new CCTV and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.
Crime prevention advice, specific to the target areas, will also be provided. It will also fund new security measures for victims of burglary in Easington. It is hoped these positive changes will improve the community and make it a safer place to live and work. The improvements aim to not only reduce the amount of crime but deter criminal activity and make streets safer.
Last year the first round of Safer Streets funding allowed homes across Darlington(Northgate and North Road) and Horden to receive free home security measures.
Since the Safer Streets initiative began, over 1,000 people have benefitted from crime prevention advice from neighbourhood wardens, police community support officers and crime prevention leaflets.
Additional measures such as defensive trellis, replacement gates, and crime prevention packs were also funded.
Work on the project is being carried out by Darlington Borough Council and Durham County Council, with support from the PCC’s office, Durham Constabulary, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service and the Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS).
Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen said: “It is great news we are going to be able provide further security measures to prevent crime, protect individuals and make homes safer across Easington and Darlington.
“The fund will enable more local communities to receive targeted crime prevention advice through work with our local partners. The addition of more CCTV and ANPR cameras as well as securing more properties to prevent burglaries, will help make the communities of County Durham and Darlington safer, stronger and more resilient to crime in many years to come.”
The Home Office has specified that the funding must be spent by the 31st March 2022 and as such there is no scope of carrying the funding forward to the new financial year 2022/3.
Strict eligibility criteria, set by the Home Office, applied when selecting the eligible areas:
An external process and outcomes evaluation will be undertaken by Kantar, the successful evaluator for the Home Office. We will also be undertaking research internally as well, to measure impact.
In the first instance, the funding is ring-fenced to the very specific WIDE equipment and the specific target areas and cannot be used for anything else. We would need a contract variation if we consider any changes to this.
Due to the project being a pilot and it being evaluated, it is important that we keep the interventions in our chosen areas. This project is part of a national evaluation, and if deemed successful, may result in future investment from the Government for wider roll-out.
The funding criteria specifies that it can only be used for one-off physical interventions and infrastructure proven to reduce opportunities for crime (situational crime prevention).
The WIDE measures were selected because they have been shown to be effective in reducing burglaries. Evidence suggests that upgrading the security of victims and their cocoon neighbours to WIDE security measures reduces burglaries by 64%.
A key partner stakeholder consultation was undertaken in the initial stages. This included consultation with key academics at UCL and University ofLeeds to understand the evidence-base.
In addition the chosen intervention had to be taken from the list of interventions in the College of Policing and Police Crime PreventionInitiatives Safer Streets Fund Toolkit.
You can find out more information on the Safer Streets fund by emailing SaferStreets@durham.police.uk