Partners in Hertfordshire redouble efforts to tackle violence against women and girls
Hertfordshire Police, the Office of the PCC for Hertfordshire and the county council have been working to fully understand communities’ concerns
As public attention has focused on violence against women and girls in recent weeks, Hertfordshire Constabulary and partner agencies have been redoubling efforts to tackle these issues.
While instances of stranger attacks remain relatively rare in Hertfordshire, there is determination to ensure that everyone feels safe on streets and in public places.
The force, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire County Council have already been working to fully understand communities’ concerns following the murder of Sarah Everard in London earlier this year.
The County Community Safety Unit – a joint unit between police and county council – has conducted work to better understand the needs and views of women and girls.
This included a personal safety survey undertaken in June which attracted more than 13,000 public responses. The results are now being carefully considered by police and partners.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire has also recently secured more than £500,000 for safety measures including improving lighting in underpasses in Hatfield.
The personal safety survey identified underpasses and subways among the top locations that women and girls felt at risk. It is hoped pedestrians using the area will feel safer as a result.
The national pilot StreetSafe scheme also provides a means by which the public can report locations in their neighbourhoods where they feel unsafe.
In Hertfordshire, these reports are reviewed by local police alongside relevant partners to consider what preventative action can be taken to make the areas safer. Reports can be made anonymously at police.uk/streetsafe.
The constabulary also continues to work with partners to prioritise the protection of the most vulnerable in society and works closely with the county council for example to protect women and children from domestic and other kinds of abuse.
“The Sarah Everard case has left many of us feeling shocked and we recognise that women in particular will have been greatly shaken by what happened.
"We want to enhance trust between the public and the police by continuing to listen to concerns so we can address them.
“It is vital that everyone feels safe using our streets and everyone feels like they can approach a police officer knowing they will be safe and will receive appropriate help and support.
"We have asked our officers to consider how people are feeling and in particular when stopping a lone female to consider how they might be able to offer reassurance.”
"We now have a good evidence base following the results from the personal safety survey assessment to understand the perceptions of safety across public spaces.
“My office has just secured over £500,000 in Safer Streets funding from the Home Office for a project in Hatfield, which will make physical changes to the environment to make it safer for women and girls.
"We will then look to see how the positive outcomes from that scheme can be rolled out across the county and how changing the physical environment can improve safety.”
Anyone affected by issues such as sexual violence or domestic abuse can access help and support through a number of support services in Hertfordshire. The support given is free and can be accessed independently of reporting to police.
Any victim of crime can access support services through Hertfordshire’s victim care centre, Beacon. Call 03000 11 55 55.
The Herts SARC offers free support and practical help to anyone in Hertfordshire who has experienced sexual violence and/or sexual abuse.If you would like to speak to someone, please call 0808 178 4448 or email [email protected].
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call IDVA services on 0300 790 6772 for advice and support. Or for more information go to hertssunflower.org.