17. My Commitments as PCC (to be responsive to emerging issues and trends part 2)
Safer Streets Fund 4 – Protecting Public Spaces
The HO launched the fourth round of the Safer Streets Fund in March 2022, with a focus on targeting: neighbourhood crimes (domestic burglary, robbery, theft from person, vehicle crime); ASB; VAWG in public places; and improving feelings of safety from VAWG or ASB.
Funding had to be targeted within defined geographic areas where evidence demonstrated a disproportionate impact from the defined crime types.
Following an extensive data review, four districts were identified and evidence-based bids developed. I was successful in securing funding for all four bids, totalling £1.4 million over the period 1 July 2022 to 30 September 2024.
The delivery areas are as follows:
Dane John Gardens, City centre and main routes into town
Extension of the Safe Zone App
34 x additional CCTV cameras in Parkwood area of the university and City centre
Introducing a Safe Haven in Whitefriars open during night-time economy (NTE) and creating a safe space for women and girls
Increasing Best Bar None within the NTE
Safe Night Out activities to support university students, including provision of Stop Topps, non-alcohol events and Walking Taxis
Support to increase number of Street Pastors to provide further patrols in the NTE
VAWG survey to understand needs
Additional police operations, particularly during refresher days
Area around town centre
Installation of eight new CCTV cameras
Street lighting improvements in the town centre
G-Safe free trial and upgraded radio link to support engagement of new businesses
Overgrown vegetation and rubbish cleared at the Overcliffe
Thames Way footpath and floodlighting installation
NTE Safe Space Scheme with some retailers having later opening hours
Active Bystander training
Town centre and Brenchley Gardens
Conversion of disused toilet block into outreach hub and associated equipment
Summer Warden for Brenchley Gardens
Active Bystander Training
Shop front wraps installed at key locations
Youth Outreach Officers for town centre
Best Bar None (Safer Socialising scheme)
Safer Streets education / awareness campaign
Street Pastor and Urban Blue Bus recruitment
Hollie Guard App and Krav Maga self defence classes
Two additional CCTV cameras in High Street
Extending Maidsafe radios and body warn cameras for NTE support staff
Targeted areas within Chatham, Rochester and Luton
Youth diversionary work in Chatham and Rochester town centre’s, including Medway Night Lights Event - interactive family activity for distribution of crime prevention / safety products and to understand feelings of safety
Kick & Connect - Sport on your doorstep, delivering weekly sessions for young people
Improvements to Luton Millennium Green including new tarmac area and provision of sports equipment
Private Sector Housing Intelligence Database to support identification of risk factors
Additional CCTV cameras in Rochester multi story car park
Refurbishment of Ball Cage in Ship Wrights Avenue
Illicit Tobacco Post to undertake pro-active operations
Active Bystander Training
Target Hardening through provision of safety and crime prevention equipment
Street Scene Improvements, including removal of fly tipping, graffiti and other environmental issues
At the beginning of 2023 I launched the Victim Voice scheme to highlight the help and support available to victims of crime in Kent and Medway.
Victim Voice provides information on the Victims’ Code, navigating the CJS and how to access independent advice and support. It also explains how to contact the police, what to expect from the various CJS agencies and what to do if the service received falls short of expectations.
Victims have repeatedly told me they feel their voice is not heard and that reporting a crime often does not lead to appropriate action. Victim satisfaction levels in my Annual Policing Survey showed almost half of those who experienced a crime and reported it to police, were dissatisfied with the service they received; my VAWG survey also found only 37% of victims reported the crime.
I want people to feel confident that when they report crime, they get the information and support they deserve, and are legally entitled to. And to make people aware they can access help, even if they have not reported the incident.
Victim Voice can be accessed via the OPCC website, or as a pamphlet which can also be downloaded.
More than 1,000 copies of the pamphlet have been distributed, the online version has been viewed nearly two thousand times and the Victim Voice presentation on the OPCC YouTube channel has been watched over 500 times. I have also delivered Victim Voice presentations to groups and at meetings all over the county.
Providing accessible information for victims of crime was one of the recommendations from my VAWG Inquiry.