New £250,000 police fund aims to help women feel safer at night

A new funding programme of almost £250,000 has been announced by Northumbria Police in a bid to help women feel safer at night.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 1:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 1:30 pm
Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture by Frank Reid.

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has vowed to prioritise women’s safety as nearly £250,000 is being channelled into more late night policing and a range of measures to address the night time fears of females across the region.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced the successful bids across England and Wales for projects from the Safety of Women at Night Fund, with police and local authorities in the North East region receiving a total of £678,173.68.

The Fund was launched in July with up to £5million made available for projects and initiatives to improve the safety of women in public spaces at night.

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Northumbria officers say more dedicated late night patrols will be happening in the area as part of Operation Cloak as the project teams up with specialist support services which will be available to victims at the ‘earliest possible opportunity’.

The funding will help build on existing initiatives designed to keep vulnerable people safe and prevention projects such as street pastors and street angels are also to be developed.

There are also plans underway to work with offenders and potential offenders to change behaviours.

Northumbria Police say the need to make women feel safer at night has also been echoed locally in the responses to the Commissioner’s Safer Streets survey.

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Key findings of the survey revealed that half the sexual harassment that happens in the region happen in bars and pubs and ‘not in a public place’.

The survey also found 42 per cent of respondents felt ‘unsafe or very unsafe at night’, compared to 11 per cent during the day.

Kim McGuinness said: “What kind of society do we live in where women are scared to walk home at night or worry about their drink getting spiked? Things have to change and if anyone says otherwise they are part of the problem.

“I know ours is, thankfully, one of the safest regions but when we carried out The Safer Streets survey earlier this year it really hit home – we clearly don’t feel safe enough. And so, I am setting out plans to do something about it. This is women’s day-to-day lives – women must feel safer.

“More police at night, more training of businesses in the night time economy, more education and interventions - we’re joining it all up so women in Northumbria will feel safer and women will be safer.”

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