A bid developed by Exeter Community Safety Partnership and led by the University of Exeter, has received significant funding of £680,250 from the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund to help improve night-time safety measures in the city centre.
This funding will be used to launch a number of initiatives in the city center to help prevent anti-social behavior and address violence against women and members of the LGBT+ community, in and around the city center of Exeter, especially at night.
The initiative will focus on several key areas: improving the existing CCTV and street lighting network in key locations in the city, specifically looking at routes from the downtown night economy to residential areas, offering tailor-made intervention for spectators and educational training for key groups. , enhancing key areas of the local community to help promote personal safety and the provision of a safe space.
Peter Scargill, Director of Commercial, Residential and Campus Services at the University of Exeter and Chair of the Exeter Community Safety Partnership, said: “The success of our bid reflects the excellent collaboration of all the partner organisations. who form the Exeter Community Safety Partnership. .
“I am extremely excited about the delivery of this project over the next eighteen months and the lasting benefits it will bring to all members of the Exeter community who use the night economy.”
Funding has been allocated to several different initiatives in order to achieve the objectives of the program. These include:
- The installation of 32 high-resolution CCTV cameras and further network improvements in a series of perceived ‘hotspots’ for potential crime, which cover the main routes into and out of the city centre. These will be linked to the CCTV network monitored by the existing city council.
- Improved street lighting, using LED lighting to minimize carbon footprint, at key points outside the center to eliminate potential ‘dark spots’ that leave people feeling unsafe.
- The introduction of a new ‘safe space’ facility to help those who are vulnerable or in need of medical support, led by InExeter. This space will have a full-time outreach worker based within the CoLab Exeter Resilient Women program, trained volunteers, provide signage, paramedic service, social support and provide a safe space to wait for transport such as taxis or night buses.
- Increase in the “Community Sparks Fund” to allow local community groups, associations, residents or businesses to fund local projects that build local pride, help solve local problems such as lighting, planting or neighborhood crime.
- The creation of a bespoke bystander intervention programme, led by Dr Rachel Fenton from the University of Exeter and Dr Nathan Eisenstadt from the University of Bristol, to build the confidence, will and ability to intervention, as well as to challenge attitudes, beliefs, cultural and peer group norms related to violence against women.
- Increased funding to improve the ‘Best Bar None’ program, which promotes responsible management and operation of licensed liquor establishments, helps build positive relationships between the licensed trade, police and local authorities, and s strives to reduce the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption in city centers.
In November 2021, the partnership received over £72,000 from the Home Office’s Women’s Night Safety Fund, to help tackle nighttime crime in the city.
Part of this funding has been used to create a critical new Women’s Night Safety Charter for Exeter, to significantly improve safety measures for women in the heart of the city, as well as ensuring their safe return security.
The Charter established seven key commitments for all organizations operating in the night economy to sign and commit to endorsing, tackling key safety issues facing women of all ages and tackling unacceptable behaviors.
It was officially launched at a special event in March, attended by representatives of the Exeter Community Safety Partnership, including the University of Exeter, Devon and Cornwall Police, Exeter City Council Exeter, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, InExeter, CoLab Exeter, More Positive Me and SPACE Youth Services.
The Safety Charter for women at night will be relaunched in March 2023.