An online mapping tool has allowed members of the public to flag areas in their communities where they feel unsafe – and local agencies are urging even more people to use the map to help them identify areas that can be helped.
The StreetSafe map was launched in September by the Home Office, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council collects data allowing police forces to understand the specific concerns raised and use the information to make informed decisions on safety. After a successful first phase trial, the StreetSafe map is now continuing to be available for use by the public for the 2022/23 financial year.
Although open to everyone, the tool is being used as part of efforts both locally and nationally to tackle violence against women and girls. West Northamptonshire Council and the Office of the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC) have been awarded £800,000 to deliver a host of schemes to improve safety for women and girls.
Reporting is anonymous and the data gathered for Northamptonshire will be used by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Office. Validated trends will be taken to the Community Safety Partnerships in Northamptonshire where Police and Local Authorities will jointly work towards finding solutions.
Now the three organisations – Northamptonshire Police, West Northamptonshire Council and the OPFCC – are urging residents to share their views, with the promise that their feedback will be taken into consideration.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold, said: “The first trial phase since September has proved very useful for us, and we’re glad to see StreetSafe continuing for the next financial year. This will really help us reveal any patterns and build solutions for specific local problems.
“And it will form a really important part of the work we are doing in Northamptonshire to target violence against women and girls.”
Councillor David Smith, West Northamptonshire Council’s cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “No-one should fear walking the streets, but for too many women and girls, the threat of intimidation and harassment when out and about is all too familiar.
“The data gathered by the StreetSafe app will allow us to identify the areas where we need to improve safety and understand how local areas can better respond.
“While anyone can use it, we hope that women and girls in particular will use the platform to let us know the areas of concern for them so we can take action to make them feel safer.”
And Detective Superintendent Joe Banfield, Head of Public Protection with Northamptonshire Police, added: “We want people living and working in the county to feel safe as they go about their daily lives. StreetSafe is a really useful tool that allows you to highlight particular streets that you may have safety concerns about.
“I would urge people to use the tool and share this information with us so these areas can be looked at more closely. However, if individuals are aware of specific issues of criminality or anti-social behaviour we request they report this directly to the police either by contacting us online or by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.”
You can use the StreetSafe map by visiting https://www.police.uk/pu/notices/streetsafe/street-safe/