CAPTION: The Herefordshire Safer Streets Project is a successful collaboration between Partners including West Mercia Police, Police & Crime Commissioner, Herefordshire Council, Vennture, West Mercia Women’s Aid, Purple Leaf, Hereford College of Arts, Hereford Community Safety Partnership and a number of other key VAWG partners passionate about making Herefordshire streets safer for all.
The Safer Streets project aims to target Violence (and fear of violence) against women and girls. It also aims to reduce street violence, Antisocial behaviour and drugs offences on our streets. Herefordshire Police, in collaboration with the PCC, successfully applied for over £860,000 of Home Office funding to deliver a series of targeted interventions for Hereford city, delivered through a successful collaboration with partners passionate about making our streets safer for all.
This project is a collaboration between Partners including West Mercia Police, Police & Crime Commissioner, Herefordshire Council, Vennture, West Mercia Women’s Aid, Purple Leaf, Hereford College of Arts, Hereford Community Safety Partnership and a number of other key VAWG partners. Safer Streets Hereford saw a number of interventions across the city over the past 18 months to support our local communities be safer and feel safer using public spaces. These interventions include:
- An additional 43 CCTV cameras and upgrade of 4 analogue cameras to digital. The cameras have been situated in those areas highlighted by our community surveys where women and girls reported feeling less safe.
- An additional 9 street lamps were installed and a large volume of landscaping works completed to clear away overgrown trees/bushes/foliage to make public spaces more open and allow natural lighting and surveillance.
- Herefordshire college of Art designed and installed two large pieces of art in the city’s pedestrian subways making the spaces feel more vibrant and welcoming.
- A High profile ‘Time for Change’ upstander campaign – featuring video, website and out-of-home targeted advertising to raise awareness about unacceptable behaviour, reporting and signposting to support.
- Expansion of Vennture’s Lean on me and street ambassador/pastor scheme. This has greatly increased the volume and area of uniformed patrols on our city streets offering a reassuring presence to our communities.
- West Mercia Women’s Aid and Purple Leaf completed education and training to 2700 school children in years 6, 9 and 12. These sessions increased awareness of sexual abuse and exploitation, the importance of challenging inappropriate behaviour, to equip young people with the tools to be able to identify healthy and unhealthy relationships and to know where to go to for help and support.
Inspector Julie Watson, Project Manager 2022-2023, says: ‘A number of surveys were carried by out by our partners at Vennture in order to identify areas of concern and measures that could be implemented to address these. The Hereford Safer Streets programme has doubled the CCTV capacity within Hereford City, expanding the area of coverage and providing high quality digital images to help prevent crime and make our communities feel safer utilising public spaces.
This increased CCTV capacity has been enhanced by improved Street lighting as well as landscaping of our overgrown green spaces to provide more natural surveillance and light penetration making these spaces feel less hostile, particularly during hours of darkness.’
Superintendent Wain agrees: ‘The Safer Streets programme of work demonstrates an excellent piece of partnership working in Herefordshire to tackle issues that our communities say matter most to them.
Herefordshire is a safe place to live, work and visit, made more so by the achievements of the project thanks to the hard work of all those involved.’
PCC John Campion supported the initiative, stating: ‘I am delighted to be part of such effective collaboration amongst partners on the Safer Streets project.
A core principle in my Safer West Mercia Plan is to reduce violence against woman and girls as an epidemic in our society, and it’s great that this campaign is actively challenging behaviours & signposting support to improve women’s safety, and feelings of safety, in Hereford.’
As part of the Home Office initiative to target violence and fear of violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) in public spaces, Herefordshire implemented a number of audio and visual campaigns across 2022-2023 aiming to raise awareness within our communities of the importance of challenging inappropriate behaviour.
These included a Christmas and New Year campaign, with the key aims to appeal to raise awareness for women and girls to report and signpost to support services; and encourage bystanders to recognise violence against women and girls and give confidence to safely intervene.
The result of an external report found that: ‘The main messages from the campaign were clear, well understood and respondents surveyed suggested that they would take action if they saw an incidence of violence against women and girls.’
In addition, the team also worked alongside students and colleges within the county – including a bespoke project with the RNC – to support the specific needs of the students and under-represented groups, also leaving a legacy for future support.
CAPTION: The Safer Streets Herefordshire initiative supported students in the county with a digital campaign and signposting to support at www.timeforchange.info.
More education and outwork support are required in colleges, schools and for young people in general. As per the final report, the students responded well to the outreach provided by support services (e.g., Purple Leaf) and were keen for conversations to be held face to face in the colleges.
DCI Emma Whitworth, Project Manager 2021-22, says: ‘All partners involved with Safer Streets will continue to work with local communities across Herefordshire to understand their thoughts and experiences in how we can collectively continue to tackle violence against women and girls. National best practice highlighted how high-profile campaigns like ‘Time for Change’ is integral to raising the awareness of VAWG locally, the importance of challenging and educating against inappropriate behaviour as well as provide tools to educate those working in the night time economy. The infrastructure improvements and additional CCTV and guardianship support so far has been incredibly well received. The views of those living, working and visiting Herefordshire are incredibly valuable to be able to continue to build upon the successes of the project so far.’
Chief Constable, West Mercia Police, Pippa Mills says: ‘For the past 2 years, West Mercia Police have coordinated the delivery of the Safer Streets project in Hereford working with a number of key stakeholders, including the Police and Crime Commissioner, Herefordshire Council, Vennture, West Mercia Women’s Aid and Purple Leaf along with many others. United to achieve the projects’ objective of targeting violence against women and girls, it has been an excellent example of true collaborative partnership working to deliver a range of measures to make our communities safer.
West Mercia Police are determined to use every opportunity to prevent violence against women and girls and keep our communities safe. I am proud of what we have achieved with partners in Hereford so far and look forward to expanding our work in the future.’
It’s time to end male violence against women and girls.
As featured in Your Herefordshire.