Case Study Background - Safer Streets
The UK government's Safer Streets fund was launched in 2020 to help police forces and local authorities tackle acquisitive crimes such as burglary and theft.
The scheme has been extended multiple times with more than £120m of Home Office funding made available. Each funding round has focused on a new area of concern for communities.
The fourth round of funding was specifically focused on tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG), with over £50m available to support projects across the UK.
The Challenge - VAWG
Following several shocking cases of violence against women and girls, Police and Crime Commissioners were given the opportunity to bid for Safer Streets funding to support initiatives that:
reduced VAWG in public spaces (including the night-time economy)
increased feelings of safety from VAWG and ASB in public places
Figures released by YouGov in 2021 suggest that 97% of women aged 18-24 have been the subject of sexual harassment, highlighting the need to take direct action.
Ashfield District Council identified a need to make Sutton Town Centre safer for women and girls, and following a successful Safer Streets bid from Nottinghamshire's Police and Crime Commissioner decide to invest in CCTV to improve safety around key locations.
The Solution - WCCTV Help Points
Following a highly successful proof-of-concept trial, Ashfield District Council installed three of WCCTV's innovative Help Point units.
The Help Point system provides people in distress with instant access to police and council CCTV control rooms when they urgently need help.
The system was developed in direct collaboration with Nottinghamshire Police and Ashfield District Council, with a specific focus on reducing street crimes such as assaults, robbery, gang crimes and crimes against women and girls.
The system is comprised of a WCCTV Redeployable CCTV unit, blue light alarm, and a two-way audio control panel that allows a person in distress to instantly communicate with their local police or local authority CCTV control room.
Pressing the 'Request Assistance' button on the Help Point allows an individual to speak directly to a control room where an operator can remotely access the camera, trigger the blue light warning, speak directly to the person in distress and gather high-definition video evidence of what is occurring.
The video below demonstrates how it works.
The Result - Violence Reduction and Reassurance
The trial deployment of the Help Points was incredibly well received and proved the systems' benefits in reducing violence against women and girls in the nighttime economy and enhancing feelings of safety for people in the town centre.
The deployments were the first of their kind anywhere in the world and received widespread media coverage, including a visit from Home Office representatives to officially unveil the systems.
A recent BBC News report also detailed how the systems were providing community reassurance across the town.
Following on from these initial deployments, police forces and local authorities across the UK have followed Nottinghamshire's lead and deployed the systems for Safer Streets applications.
"This is the first time that surveillance cameras have been developed in this way, and we are proud to be making it happen here in Nottinghamshire.
"Effectively, this technology allows women to make a live, video-recorded SOS call to CCTV Control Room staff and police staff if they find themselves in danger or under threat. This could potentially prevent a serious crime and ensure women and girls receive the urgent help they need from police officers. Activating the help point will immediately enable operators to risk assess the scene via CCTV to secure evidence, determine what help is needed, dispatch the appropriate police response and provide reassurance to the caller.
"Already, there is significant interest from other forces in these new cameras, and we are excited to lead the way once again.
"We want to reassure all women and girls living in Nottinghamshire that we take their safety extremely seriously and will spare no effort in ensuring they can live their lives confidently and without fear."
Caroline Henry - Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Ready to see if WCCTV's Redeployable CCTV can help reduce ASB in your area? Contact us today on 0800 470 4630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.