Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe and Warwickshire County Council’s Community Safety team have secured £249,000 of additional funding to help make women and girls safer in public spaces across the county.
The funding has been awarded from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund, with the Commissioner collaborating with Warwickshire County Council, other local authority partners, Warwickshire Police and the National Probation Service, to deliver range of improvements in local areas across the county.
The additional cash boost will be focused on locations which women and girls identified as places they felt unsafe in when surveyed earlier this year.
It will fund educational programmes involving local residents to help reduce the fear of crime and ensure that communities are fully involved in creating safer spaces, with improved visibility and extended use of mobile CCTV cameras among the range of options. The funding will also be used to provide quick-time solutions in other rural parts of the county as and when new community concerns are identified.
Graffiti removal and other physical works to improve the public spaces will also be undertaken through the Community Payback scheme run by the National Probation Service.
Announcing the funding, Commissioner Seccombe said: “I’m absolutely committed to tackling the issue of violence against women and girls and together with the police, Warwickshire County Council, probation and other local authority partners, I have been working to secure extra funding to help ensure that public spaces in the county are safe and feel safe.
“As part of the integrated Violence Against Women and Girls Partnership Board, we’ve listened to the feedback about areas of the county were women and girls have told us they feel vulnerable. I’m pleased that as a result of this partnership effort the bid to the Safer Streets Fund has been accepted, which will allow the partners to put in place this programme of improvements to address these concerns.”
The Safer Streets award comes hot on the heels of another tranche of Government funding that the Commissioner has recently secured for Warwickshire, this time for a for a programme which provides interventions encouraging behaviour change to help stop perpetrators from committing domestic abuse.
The £200,000 Home Office award is being boosted by an additional £100,000 from the Commissioner to allow the Family Intervention Counselling Service to run a county-wide programme for perpetrators of domestic abuse who want to change their offending behaviour, focusing on therapeutic support, structured group work, individual work and intensive case management.
The funding also provides specialist support for connected victims, including 1:1 therapeutic counselling and weekly group therapy sessions.
Mr Seccombe added: “It’s important that we take a holistic approach to improving women’s safety, which also looks at how we can change the behaviour of men who are violent to women. The responsibility for such violence always rests with perpetrator, never the victim; and where there is a genuine desire to change behaviour it is important this is supported and encouraged while at the same time ensuring that there are always appropriate safeguards for victims and strong sanctions against those who continue to be violent.
“I have pledged to do all I can to ensure Warwickshire gets as much additional funding possible for these types of initiatives and I will continue to work with partners to explore further opportunities to support this vital area of work.”
Cllr Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety at Warwickshire County Council said: “We welcome the funding from the Government Safer Streets Fund and the additional monies from the Commissioner. The Violence Against Women and Girls Board continues to provide a comprehensive plan of action that looks to protect the most vulnerable within our communities and ensure their safety is, as always, kept paramount. The money will allow partners to continue to work with local communities to provide services, support and advice.”
Work to identify the full programme of areas where the Safer Streets funding will be used is ongoing and will be subject to continued refinement by partners based on public feedback.