LAST SEPTEMBER the Home Office launched a scheme called StreetSafe in an attempt to make London’s streets safer for the public. Just eight months later, the Metropolitan Police have had 3,272 reports of unsafe areas – nearly 75% of which were made by women.
The scheme invites members of the public to report, online and anonymously, any area where they feel unsafe – because of poor street lighting, environmental factors, lack of CCTV or Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB). Reporting is the first step: but the next step is to find out what the Metropolitan Police, or other authorities, are doing about these reports.
The Metropolitan Police has used the information gleaned from the reports to shift some of their patrols so that there is a larger police presence in unsafe areas. This has led to people drinking and getting drunk on the streets being moved on. Areas where women and girls were being wolf-whistled and harassed saw extra patrols being laid on, which appears to have led to fewer calls to the police about harassment in these areas.
Police have also mounted some targeted operations in areas reported under the scheme – making arrests for offences ranging from public order and ASB offences to drug-related crime and even offences involving violence.
The police are not the only ones responding to the StreetSafe reports, as police are working with partners and even community volunteers to tackle safety issues.
Superintendent Andy Brittain, who is the Metropolitan Police lead for StreetSafe, said, “It is fantastic that so many people, both men and women, have taken the time to use StreetSafe to report their concerns about places where they feel unsafe. Local policing teams are already using this valuable information about very specific locations to target anti-social behaviour and other issues that communities have told us about. We are refining how we make the most of the rich source of information and translating it into making public places safer.”
Superintendent Brittain appealed to the public to continue to use the StreetSafe scheme.
●Do not use StreetSafe to report crimes or incidents: these should be reported over 101 or, in an emergency, by calling 999. For ore information about StreetSafe, go to:
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