Further £42m awarded to PCCs through Safer Streets Fund

The Home Office has awarded police and crime commissioners (PCCs) a further £42 million through the Safer Streets Fund to build on current progress to tackle neighbourhood crime, violence against women and girls (VAWG) and anti-social behaviour.

Oct 27, 2023
By Paul Jacques
Picture: Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock

As part of the fifth round of Safer Streets funding, PCCs will receive cash injections to invest in a range of prevention activities to make public spaces safer and reduce the fear of crime.

The scheme will run from this month for an 18-month period until March 2025.

Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) joint national prevention lead, Festus Akinbusoye, said: “I am delighted that PCCs have secured a further £42 million of Safer Streets funding to complement their existing work targeting anti-social behaviour, VAWG and neighbourhood crimes.

“The APCC has been instrumental in the delivery of this opportunity, gathering the views of PCCs and sharing them with the Home Office to inform how best to spend this funding.

“Prevention lies at the heart of our Police and Crime Plans. Across England and Wales, PCCs are working successfully with partners to reduce victims and increase feelings of safety in their communities. This new injection of funding will enable PCCs to build on these achievements and apply their local knowledge to deliver projects where they are most needed.”

He added: “The additional investment through round five brings the total of Safer Streets funding to £167 million since 2020, with 413 projects funded across England and Wales to date.

“PCCs already have a strong track record of delivering valuable preventative work through the scheme, employing interventions that not only prevent crime and help promote behavioural and attitudinal change, but also help reduce the fear of crime.

“PCCs have consulted with local authorities and other partners in their areas to identify how best to allocate this funding, which equates to roughly £1 million per policing area. They will now utilise their unique abilities to bring partners together to ensure it is invested effectively and efficiently to deliver maximum impact.”

Derbyshire PCC Angelique Foster said state-of-the-art re-deployable CCTV, covert policing, high-visibility warden patrols, communications upgrades, improved lighting and park improvements and outreach/educational activities to support young people are just some of the interventions planned as part of her Safer Streets funding.

“Anti-social behaviour, neighbourhood crime and VAWG can be devastating experiences for victims that take a long time to recover from. They also harm our wider communities, creating fear and distrust and stop people from enjoying their lives as fully as they should.

“This grant will benefit all of Derbyshire and will boost my Police and Crime Plan priorities to build stronger and more resilient communities in which crimes are prevented before they have an opportunity to escalate or bring harm to victims.

“These projects include substantial extra enforcement and warden patrols alongside covert operations that will help bring more offenders before the courts. I know that this will be welcome by our residents.”

West Midlands PCC Simon Foster says the funding will be used to help “step up his war against dangerous drivers”.

While funding will continue to be used to tackle VAWG and anti-social behaviour on the streets, he also intends to buy extra speed vans and employ more staff to view videos of dangerous drivers.

Since 2013, road collisions and casualties have started to rise, with 1,051 people seriously injured in road traffic collisions in the past financial year, including 55 fatalities.

Mr Foster says he will use the funding to hire six members of staff who will view dashcam footage sent in by members of the public of driver behaviour, buy three speed camera vans and boost the community speedwatch scheme.

He will also target VAWG in public spaces by educating children and young people and encouraging upstander behaviour in adults.

In addition, he will work with Birmingham City Council by funding two city centre intervention officers to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime on the streets.

Mr Foster said: “Cracking down on dangerous drivers is one of my top priorities.

“As PCC and as chair of the West Midlands Road Safety Strategic Group, preventing and tackling crime and anti-social behaviour on our roads, promoting road harm reduction and reducing the number of people tragically and avoidably killed and seriously injured on our roads are also top priorities.

“This funding will help me and West Midlands Police make our roads safer for all by expanding community speedwatch schemes; boosting third party reporting, with six new staff to oversee submitted video footage and three new speed camera vans.”

He added: “Ending male VAWG has also been a core priority for me from day one. It was a central part of my manifesto in 2021 and it is a top priority in my Police and Crime Plan.

“We’ve been able to take some great strides already but there’s so much work to be done in achieving community-wide change and having more open conversations about what we can all do. This important funding will help us to do just that.”

Cleveland PCC Steve Turner said the funding will be used to target five areas identified as crime and anti-social behaviour hotspots – neighbourhoods disproportionately and persistently affected by the types of crime covered by the fund.

This will include home security measures for residents, additional CCTV coverage and focused work tackle neighbourhood crime, anti-social behaviour, VAWG and aggressive begging. Additional support will also be provided for sex workers.

Projects will include improvements to alley gates and a new community cohesion officer, who will ask residents what they want to see in their community – and enable them to achieve it.

Mr Turner said: “These projects deliver significant results in the communities that need them the most, with physical measures such as more lighting, CCTV and improved alley gate schemes.

“The Safer Streets project demonstrates the power of agencies working together to reduce crime in hotspot areas and we look forward to working with them once again.”

Essex police, fire and crime commissioner Roger Hirst said “This extra investment will mean we will be able to do even more to keep our communities safe and help people feel safer, especially women and girls. People want to be able to go out and enjoy their lives, free from the fear of crime. Nobody wants to be the victim of crime and we are working hard together across Essex to get crime down, tackle anti-social behaviour, protect the vulnerable and support victims.

“Crime has fallen by 6.7 per cent in the last 12 months and anti-social behaviour has fallen by 35.2 per cent, but we must do more and this extra investment will make a real difference in communities across Essex.”

Staffordshire police, fire and crime commissioner Ben Adams said: “Tackling the anti-social behaviour that can harm our communities is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan, as where these problems are repeated, residents can feel unsafe in their own neighbourhoods.

“This latest round of funding will help to boost the significant work already underway across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, combining practical measures like CCTV and improved lighting with education to change people’s behaviours – not only making our communities safer, but ensuring they feel safer too.”

Staffordshire Police Chief Superintendent Elliott Sharrard-Williams said: “We recognise the impact anti-social behaviour can have on victims, which is why we are committed to working with partners to tackle it every day.

“In August, we updated our new neighbourhood strategy, which placed visible, accessible and responsive policing at the heart of our ambitions. This is key to modern policing: we need all our communities to have trust and confidence in what we do. When this is the case, communities engage more, support us more, and together help us tackle crime.

“We want to encourage victims of anti-social behaviour to reach out for support.”

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