Durham PCC awarded over £450,000 to make streets safer for women and girls

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October 6, 2021

IMPROVED street lighting,e-bikes which allow more police patrols on remote walkways and a series of training and education projects are being introduced to make the streets safer.

More than £450,000 has been awarded to make improvements in Darlington town centre, including improvements to lighting around taxi ranks, bus stops and popular night-time routes.

The money will also be used to buy e-bikes, which enable the police and council wardens to respond to incidents and carry out high-visibility patrols in more hard-to-reach areas such as paths, cycle tracks, enclosed parks and woodlands.

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office has been awarded £453,813 from the Home Office under the Safer Streets 3 Fund, Government money designed to help women and girls feel safer in public spaces.

Some of the funding will allow Durham Constabulary and Darlington Borough Council to work with the Alice Ruggles Trust to develop and roll out teaching packages on stalking and coercive behaviour for secondary schools and colleges.

The programme, which builds on the success of pioneering anti-stalking work between Durham Constabulary and the trust, is one of a series of training, education and development programmes, aimed at both men and women.

In April, Durham Constabulary launched the Call It Out survey, supported by Durham Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and the two local authorities, to try to gauge how safe women and girls feel and identify the improvements they wanted to see.

Almost 1,300 people responded to the survey, which found that women felt significantly less safe on an evening and, when out and about in local neighbourhoods and town centres and highlighted street lighting as a significant issue. The findings of that survey have informed the successful bid for Government funding.

This funding comes as part of the wider Safer Streets Fund, which has seen County Durham and Darlington receive over £1.5m to make streets safer through a variety of projects including clamping down on burglary and other acquisitive crime.

Joy Allen, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I am delighted we have secured over £450,000 that will focus on delivering preventative programmes as well as increasing surveillance to make streets safer. One of my key priorities outlined in my draft Police and Crime Plan is Safer People and this funding will support delivering a Violence Against Women and Girls’ strategy aimed at improving our response to the crimes that predominantly affect women and girls so that no woman needs to live in fear and girls grow up knowing they are safe.

“This funding is essential as we need a focus on helping make women and girls feel safe on our streets and look at changing behaviours and attitudes in local communities through partner projects. We wanted women and girls in our community to have their say on their personal experiences and we wanted to know what they think the police and our partners could do better which is why the proposals outlined in the bid were informed by the respondents to the force’s Call It Out Survey.”

Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Deputy Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted that Darlington’s latest bid for Safer Streets funding has been successful and look forward to continue working closely with the PCC, police and other partners to help ensure Darlington is a safer place to live, work and visit.”

Chief Superintendent Adrian Green, of Durham Constabulary, said: “I am really pleased to have been successful with this bid which will provide the funding to support a range of activities by police and our partners to reduce crime and improve public confidence, particularly among women and girls in Darlington”.

Further information on the Safer Streets Funds can be found at : https://www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/news-and-events/safer-streets

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