The Home Office has announced the latest, round five, of the Safer Streets Fund whereby localities get money for projects to counter neighbourhood crime. Some £41.67m has gone out, in England and Wales.
Whereas in earlier rounds of the Fund, councils and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) bid for money – which led some of those who missed out, or never heard of the Fund in the first place, to complain – for round five announced in the summer, the Home Office offered £1m to each police force area. With a couple of exceptions, the PCCs have put in and had accepted bids that total exactly or almost £1m.
Whereas since the murder of Sarah Everard the Home Office has steered the Fund towards things that will counter violence against women and girls (VAWG), the Fund continues to be used for updating public space surveillance, and better street lighting; and more intangibly on such things as ‘active bystander’ training for door security and other night-time economy workers.
In Kent, for example, its PCC says Folkestone (pictured) is to see ‘improved CCTV, improved safety at taxi ranks and a Safe Taxi Scheme, support for outreach workers and Street Pastors [typically, volunteers who offer welfare to those in distress on nights out] as well as graffiti and litter removal’; and similar proposals cover Sittingbourne and Sheerness, and Chatham, town centres in the north of the county. Likewise in Cleveland, a bid of £1m (minus 16 pence) will be divided between Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Stockton.
What they say
At the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), the Joint National Prevention Lead is the Conservative PCC for Bedfordshire, Festus Akinbusoye. He said: “Prevention lies at the heart of our Police and Crime Plans. Across England and Wales, PCCs are working successfully with partners to reduce victims and increase feelings of safety in their communities. This new injection of funding will enable PCCs to build on these achievements and apply their local knowledge to deliver projects where they are most needed.
“The additional investment through round five brings the total of Safer Streets funding to £167m since 2020, with 413 projects funded across England and Wales to date. PCCs already have a strong track record of delivering valuable preventative work through the scheme, employing interventions that not only prevent crime and help promote behavioural and attitudinal change, but also help reduce the fear of crime.
“PCCs have consulted with local authorities and other partners in their areas to identify how best to allocate this funding, which equates to roughly £1m per policing area. They will now utilise their unique abilities to bring partners together to ensure it is invested effectively and efficiently to deliver maximum impact.”
More in the December print edition of Professional Security Magazine.