£4 million boost to make Essex public spaces safer
Posted June 2023
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, is launching a £4 million (£3,953,923) locally funded scheme to improve public safety across Essex. The fund is open to all Essex Council Community Safety Partnerships and will target areas that suffer from anti-social behaviour, neighbourhood crime and where women and girls feel unsafe.
The scheme follows the successful implementation of a national Safer Streets fund where the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, working with local councils, secured £3 million from central government to invest in making areas across Essex safer. This funding has been amplified by an additional £820,000 of funding from local partners.
Roger Hirst Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner said: “Crime is falling in Essex and is down 2.5% in the last twelve months. We are also seeing long term reductions in key types of crime including anti-social behaviour which is down by 60%, and homicide and burglary both of which have halved since 2016.”
“But we know we need to do more to continue to get crime down, support victims and protect the vulnerable. We also need to make sure that people feel safe in their communities and can go out and enjoy their lives without the fear of crime. We know that women and girls feel unsafe in certain areas of Essex and this is unacceptable.”
“We have invested significantly to improve areas where we have been told that people feel unsafe, and this has made a huge difference. In one project area in Colchester, violence against the person offences is down 6.6%, more people are feeling confident visiting the town and confidence levels are up.
“In Chelmsford we know more students are feeling able to use areas of the city they previously felt were no go areas. This is good for them, good for their communities and demonstrates the positive impact of this investment.”
The scheme was launched at the PFCC’s partnership conference on June the 23rd to an audience of 300 partners from across Essex with applications due in the next few months and all funding to be invested by April 2024.
Engagement with local communities is vital to successfully creating these safer spaces. By working with Community Safety Partnerships and wider Community Groups we have been able to identify areas of concern and support stronger community involvement.
Citizens Essex co-chair Rebecca Warren, worked with the PFCC to highlight the concerns of local communities in Chelmsford and Colchester. Speaking about the launch of the new fund she said
‘Citizens Essex are proud that Essex PFCC has worked with their alliance in recent years to listen to the concerns of residents. Through this, safety and lighting issues were heard concerning the Bunny Walks in Chelmsford and Greenstead in Colchester. Consequently, Essex PFCC allocated over £1 million of Safer Streets funding to help people feel safer in these communities. The next £4 million, with another £2million match-funding, has real potential to continue to make Essex safer.’
Each project includes a range of activity to improve the physical environment, promote community involvement, and create safer spaces. This includes investment in redesigning walkways, lighting, CCTV and activities, as well as strengthening community engagement including schools, young people and businesses.
To find out more about the funding contact your local Community Safety Partnership or, if you are a CSP Manager please contact Claire Hanrahan [email protected].