Funding boost to enhance night-time safety measures in Exeter
Published: 2 August 2022
A bid developed by Exeter Community Safety Partnership and led by the University of Exeter, has received a significant funding boost of £680,250 from the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund to help enhance night-time safety measures across the city centre.
This funding will be used to launch a number of initiatives within the city centre to help prevent anti-social behaviour, and tackle violence against women and members of the LGBT+ community, in and around Exeter city centre, particularly at night.
The initiative will be focused around several key areas: enhancing the existing CCTV and street lighting network in key locations within the city, specifically looking at routes from the city centre night time economy to residential areas, delivering bespoke bystander intervention 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 & Campus Services at the University of Exeter and Chair of the Exeter Community Safety Partnership said: “The success of our bid reflects the excellent collaborative working by all of the partner organisations that form the Exeter Community Safety Partnership.
“I am extremely excited about the delivery of this project over the next eighteen months and the long-lasting benefits it will provide to all members of Exeter’s community who use the night time Economy.”
The funding has been allocated into several different initiatives in order to meet the aims of the scheme. These include:
- The installation of 32 high resolution CCTV cameras and new network enhancements at a series of perceived “hot spots” for potential crime, which cover key entrance and exit routes to the city centre. These will be linked to the existing City Council monitored CCTV network.
- Improved street lighting, using LED lighting to minimise the carbon footprint, at key points outside the centre to remove potential ‘dark areas’ that leave people feeling unsafe.
- The introduction of a new “safe space” facility to help those who are vulnerable, or need medical support, led by InExeter. This space will have a full-time assertive outreach worker based within the CoLab Exeter Resilient Women Programme, trained volunteers, provide signposting, a paramedic service, welfare support and provide a safe space to wait for transport such as taxis or the night buses.
- Increased ‘Community Sparks Fund’ to enable local community groups, associations, residents or businesses to fund local projects which build pride in place, help tackle local area problems such as lighting, planting or neighbourhood crime.
- The creation of a bespoke bystander intervention programme, led by Dr Rachel Fenton of the University of Exeter, and Dr Nathan Eisenstadt of the University of Bristol, to boost people’s confidence, willingness, and ability to intervene, and also challenge existing attitudes, beliefs, cultural and peer group norms related to violence against women.
- Increased funding to enhance the ‘Best Bar None’ scheme, which promotes the responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises, helps build positive relationships between the licensed trade, police and local authorities, and works to reduce the harmful effects of binge drinking in town centres.
In November 2021, the partnership was awarded more than £72,000 from the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night Fund, to help tackle night-time crime in the city.
Part of that funding was used to create a pivotal new Safety of Women at Night Charter for Exeter, to significantly enhance safety measures for women in the heart of the city, as well as ensure their safe passage home.
The Charter established seven key pledges for all organisations that operate in the night time economy to sign up to and commit to endorsing, to tackle the key safety issues faced by women of all ages, and challenge unacceptable behaviours.
It was officially launched at a special event in March, attended by representatives from Exeter Community Safety Partnership including the University of Exeter, Devon and Cornwall Police, Exeter City Council, the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner, InExeter, CoLab Exeter, More Positive Me and SPACE Youth Services.
The Safety of Women at Night Charter will be re-launched in March 2023.