Over half a million pounds (£550,000) is to be invested in improving the safety of women and girls in Stoke-on-Trent as part of the latest round of the Government’s Safer Streets Fund, following a successful bid submitted by the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office (SCO).
This is in addition to £1.5 million already secured through Safer Streets in rounds one and two.
The latest Safer Streets initiative focuses on violence against women and girls, and forms part of Staffordshire’s preventative approach to reducing violence more broadly.
Following consultation with local women and girls in June 2021, which received around 1,500 responses, a number of measures were identified which would make a real difference to their safety, as well as their feelings of safety in public places.
These suggestions were used to develop the bid and included a combination of interventions, such as installing additional lighting and CCTV, as well as working with schools and communities to deliver targeted educational programmes and awareness campaigns to achieve longer-term behavioural change.
Ben Adams, Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, said: ‘It is so important that we continue our work to not only reduce violence against women and girls, but to ensure that they actually feel safer in our towns and cities too.
‘This is a priority for me as Commissioner, and this funding is a very welcome boost to the vital work already underway in our area, alongside our partners, to tackle this issue.
‘By taking a broad approach, combining practical measures like CCTV with education programmes to challenge behaviours, we aim to achieve long-lasting, sustainable improvements women and girls’ safety.
‘I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation and shared their experiences with us, which has helped us shape our successful bid.’
Temporary Chief Constable Emma Barnett said: “Recent tragic events have brought into sharp focus the significant issue of violence, abuse, and intimidation against women and girls that is, sadly, still very much present in our society.
‘Tackling violence against women and girls is a key priority for Staffordshire Police and in recent months we’ve been engaging with the Government’s new Violence Against Women and Girls strategy to look at how we stop violence and abuse by working with our partners to achieve long-term change in improving women’s safety.
‘This grant will allow us to continue our work with the Commissioner’s office and other partners to increase the safety of public spaces in Stoke-on-Trent.’
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown said: ‘We have a track record of using national funding to deliver improvements that strengthen safety measures in our city’s communities. In Fenton and Northwood, we spent a lot of time speaking to residents to understand issues important to them and have delivered a wide range of measures including 1,500 home security improvements; installing 42 alley gates to reduce instances of nuisance fly-tipping; deploying 11 new CCTV cameras in strategic locations, bolstering the existing provision in the communities and improving safety; and installing 25 new lighting columns in streets and alleys across the areas, with more to come.
‘This funding will help us to deliver more improvements to support the safety of women and girls in our city. This is an issue that has been thrown into stark spotlight nationally in recent days, and I want to give the assurance that we take this matter extremely seriously in Stoke-on-Trent. This money will be used to make real and significant improvements that will directly support the safety and security of women and girls in our city.’
The Safer Streets Funding is just one element of the SCO’s and partners’ commitment to tackling violence against women and girls across Staffordshire, which includes:
- Bidding for the Government’s Safety of Women at Night funding, designed to fund initiatives focused on preventing violence against women and girls in public places at night, including in the night-time economy, in venues and on public transport
- Launching a partnership Violence Reduction Alliance to deliver the local Violence Strategy
- Holding a dedicated Violence Reduction conference in the near future
- Establishing a Violence Against Women and Girls Commission, to deliver related actions
Due to the nature of the interventions and the partnership approach being taken, this work is also expected to have a wider impact on anti-social behaviour, robbery, theft, online abuse and other violence.
Find out more about the latest round of the Government’s Safer Streets Fund at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safer-streets-fund-round-3-application-process