£18m pledge to make streets safer in England and Wales

3 June 2021, 07:36 | Updated: 3 June 2021, 08:52

By Daisy Stephens

The Government has pledged a total of more than £18 million in funding to 40 areas of England and Wales in a bid to make them safer.

The money, from the Safer Streets Fund, will pay for projects to crack down on crimes like burglary, vehicle theft and robbery, for example by increasing street lighting, CCTV installation and introducing locked gates around alleyways.

It is also aimed at making streets safer for women and girls in public.

“No one should feel afraid while walking the streets, yet for so many people, particularly women and girls, a background hum of feeling uncomfortable or even unsafe in public spaces has become an all too common occurrence,” said minister for safeguarding Victoria Atkins.

“We want this fund to help the police and local councils ensure that our streets are safe for everyone.”

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The funding has been awarded to councils and police and crime commissioners (PCCs) across England and Wales, including Birmingham City Council, Durham PCC, Bristol City Council, Kent PCC and South Wales PCC.

The third round of the Safer Streets Fund also opens today, providing another opportunity to bid from a fund of £25 million for the year 2021/22. 

This next round of funding will go beyond environmental measures like improved street lighting, and encourage police to secure innovative bids for plans primarily focused on helping make women and girls feel safer on the streets, as well as projects which could include an emphasis on changing attitudes and behaviours in local communities.

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“I will not stand by while criminals inflict fear and misery on our communities, which is why I launched the Safer Streets Fund to improve security in areas blighted by crimes like burglary, robbery and theft,” said home secretary Priti Patel.

“But it’s more than just environmental change – we need to prevent people from committing these offences in the first place as we build back safer.

“That is why the next round will rightly look at behaviour change, with a primary focus on women and girls who are disproportionately affected by crimes like harassment in public places.”

Home secretary Priti Patel launched the Safer Streets Fund to tackle crimes like burglary, robbery and theft
Home secretary Priti Patel launched the Safer Streets Fund to tackle crimes like burglary, robbery and theft, but the third round of funding will focus primarily on the safety of women and girls. Picture: PA

Safer Streets is not the only way the Government is working to tackle violence against women and girls. 

In March, the Home Office reopened its call for evidence on violence against women and girls.

Over 180,000 responses were received and are helping to inform the new cross-government Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and complementary Domestic Abuse Strategy, which will be published later this year.

The Home Office is also working closely with police on a new online tool aimed at women and girls, which will allow people to pinpoint locations in their local area where they have felt unsafe.