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Whitehaven to benefit from the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund

Whitehaven will be the most recent town in Cumbria to benefit from the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund. Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, received the successful bid of £191,583.96 from the Government to make public places safer for everyone and through projects to help women and girls feel safer on our streets. The funding will focus on the Central ward but will impact the whole of Whitehaven and Cumbria.

The funding will be used to introduce lighting and CCTV within Castle Park. Thorn ‘Night Tune’ lamp will be installed to light the routes in the park and behind the bandstand to enhance visibility and feelings of safety. CCTV will be attached to the lampposts to monitor the park paths and provide surveillance opportunities for the Police. The cameras will increase the chance of an offender being caught and will provide evidence for the Police with the aim to help secure convictions.

Active bystander training will also be provided to a range of groups in Whitehaven to influence the culture that violence against women is unacceptable. The aim of the training is to prevent sexual assaults, where possible, as research has shown that bystanders play a key role in preventing, discouraging, and intervening when an act of violence is likely to occur. Just under 1000 people will be invited to attend the training, including pub door security staff, taxi drivers, the Women out West centre staff and users; Whitehaven Academy; St Benedict’s secondary schools; and all youth groups in Whitehaven.

A county-wide campaign will be launched as part of the funding to tackle the myths and misunderstandings around rape, consent, sexual harassment and what constitutes as inappropriate behaviour. The campaign will cover: Promoting a healthy and positive understanding of consent; encouraging individuals to recognise their own boundaries and to respect those of others; encouraging the reporting of unwanted behaviours to the police or other support agencies; and promoting support services available.

Whitehaven is the third town in Cumbria to benefit from the Safer Streets Fund. The first round focused on the Salthouse Road area in Barrow. The £436,994 paid for new streetlights in the back streets and the existing front street lighting to be upgraded. The fund also paid for home security packs and fitters were appointed to install a range of home security products to improve both the front and backs of eligible houses. Workington was the recipient of the second round of funding, with £311,358 being spent on crime prevention measures including Safer Homes Packs to protect 1,300 homes, improved street lighting on certain residential streets, public lights introduced in Vulcan Park and CCTV set up at the St. Michael’s Nursery and Infant School.

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “This is our third successful bid to the Safer Streets Fund here in Cumbria, but this is the first one that focuses on the safety of women and girls in our community.

“The installation of lights and CCTV in the park will reduce opportunistic crimes and create a safer path for everyone using the park at night.

“The bystander training is a great programme and having professionals and the public trained in how to safely and calmly step-in to reduce the likelihood on someone being sexually assaulted is key to changing our culture around violence against women and girls.

“We want everyone to feel as safe as possible here in Cumbria and I hope that this work will benefit the community in the same way we have seen in the past two bids.

“I look forward to working with the Police, Cumbria County Council, Copeland Borough Council, West Cumbria Community Safety Partnership, and all our other willing partners.

“Together we can make Cumbria an even safer place for all.”

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