Policing chief calls for woman to have say in fight against harassment and crime

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness is calling on the people in the North East, particularly women, to have their say in the fight against crimes in public spaces like street harassment and violence.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness

Catching the Metro to work, taking the children to the beach, walking home from a night out in the city centre – a new online survey aims to understand how safe people feel when going about their daily lives, in our region.

Police and Crime Commissioners have been invited to apply for a Home Office fund aimed at tackling violence against women and girls.

Kim said she really wants to hear from local residents about their experiences and what makes them feel uncomfortable or even frightened when they are out and about, day or night.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “Our region, thankfully, is one of the safest but I am more than aware there are still places and situations where people feel unsafe and vulnerable and we need to do something about it.

“The terrible experience of Sarah Everard in London struck a chord with so many women I know and the spotlight is on women’s safety now more than ever, and rightly so. Sarah should have been safe, and she wasn’t.

“So I want people to make the most of this opportunity to speak out and tell me what they think so we can improve safety in our region and improve lives for everyone.”

She added: “I want to be in a position where we can deliver some really serious solutions to people’s worries and concerns and we want to hear what could be done to make people feel safer.

“We’re lucky to have some wonderful women’s support networks and organisations in our region doing amazing things to help women feel safe but we can all do more. There might be some practical fixes for some areas like more lighting, CCTV and so on, but I really want us to think about creative ways to improve safety as well as the bigger cultural changes that are needed too. Education around attitudes, values and respect for others has to play a part. And this all ties in with the prevention work we have happening in schools and youth organisations through my Violence Reduction Unit.”

“I am determined to make some real improvements in this area and I am grateful to everyone who feels able to share their thoughts and experiences with me, I do understand it’s not always easy but it will help inform plans to keep our communities safe.”

The survey responses will inform a bid for Home Office cash from the £25million Safer Streets 3 programme.

The programme focuses on improving the safety of public spaces, particularly addressing crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls and putting measures in place to make people feel safe when in they are out and about.

The survey was launched today and will run until June 21. Survey findings will be incorporated into the Safer Streets 3 bids, which have to be submitted by 15 July 2021. The Government is expected to announce successful bids at the end of August.

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. To take the survey, go to: http://bit.ly/NorthumbriaSSFR3