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New camera technology to keep women safe in Ashfield 'first of its kind' in the world

Launching a new network of Safer Refuge cameras

Revolutionary camera technology giving women and girls instant access to the police control room when they need help urgently has been unveiled in Ashfield for the first time. 

Home Office officials responsible for the Government’s Safer Streets programme joined Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, Councillor Helen-Ann Smith and safety officers from Ashfield District Council at Force HQ to launch a new network of Safer Refuge cameras.

The technology – the first of its kind in the world – was developed by mobile surveillance firm Wireless CCTV Ltd (WCCTV) at the request of Commissioner Henry and Ashfield District Council to increase the protection of women and girls in the county and any member of the public who requires assistance.

The cameras will be installed on poles painted white to make them more conspicuous to members of the public who may need help.  They are to be installed in three areas of Sutton-in-Ashfield before the end of March. 

WCCTV was asked to devise a camera solution that could not only record evidence of criminal behaviour but give women a means of calling for urgent help – before a crime occurs.

WCCTV had already developed an accessory that enables live or recorded audio warnings through its cameras. They worked closely with partners in Nottinghamshire to build on this technology and conceive a new ‘panic button’ function enabling the team to create refuge points where members of the public could call for immediate help.

The firm built, tested and delivered a prototype unit which Nottinghamshire trialled and found to be more than suitable for requirements.

The capital investment, worth in total £54,250 across the two Safer Streets projects in Sutton-in-Ashfield and Worksop, is part of a determined effort to make women and girls feel safer, reduce their vulnerability and prevent sexual violence and other crimes in public space environments.

The cameras were officially launched by Home Office officials Paul Reagan, Head of the Neighbourhood Crime Unit, Chloe Jenkins, Safer Streets Fund Delivery Lead, and Tia Clarke, Safety of Women at Night Fund at the Neighbourhood Crime Unit.

The visit included a demonstration of the new technology and a presentation on Safer Streets-funded improvements across Nottinghamshire.

Minister of State for Crime and Policing Kit Malthouse said: “I want women and girls across the UK to be safe on our streets, and these revolutionary CCTV cameras are a crucial step towards achieving that goal.

“I am delighted Safer Streets funding is being used so innovatively by Nottinghamshire Police, and look forward to hearing feedback about how the project performs.

“Round Four of the Safer Streets Fund is open for bids and allows investment in new and one-of-a-kind solutions, such as these, to help make real changes and enable communities to feel safer and thrive.”

Commissioner Henry said: “This is the first time in the world that surveillance cameras have been developed in this way and we are really proud to be making it happen here in Nottinghamshire.

“Effectively, this technology allows women to make a live, video-recorded SOS call to CCTV Control Room staff and police staff if they find themselves in danger or under threat. This could potentially prevent a serious crime and ensure women and girls receive the urgent help they need from police officers. Activating the help point will immediately enable operators to risk assess the scene via CCTV to secure evidence, determine what help is needed, dispatch the appropriate police response and provide reassurance to the caller.

“Already, there is significant interest from other forces in these new cameras and we are excited to be once again leading the way.

“We want to reassure all women and girls living in Nottinghamshire that we take their safety extremely seriously and will spare no effort in ensuring they can live their lives confidently and without fear.”

Cllr Helen-Ann Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety said “It is fantastic that Ashfield will be the first place in the world to have this state-of-the-art equipment. I was blown away seeing it in action today. These will have a significant impact on the safety of women and girls in Sutton.

“This is just one of the many projects we are delivering as part of the Safer Streets initiative which include improved CCTV street lighting and trailing a safety app. We will continue to work closely with partners to deliver initiatives that reassure residents that Sutton is a safe place to live, work and visit.”

Daniel del Soldato, Head of Communications at WCCTV Ltd, said: “WCCTV is incredibly proud to have directly collaborated with Nottinghamshire Police to create a unique solution that will make streets safer for the most vulnerable.

“As a UK based manufacturer, we were able to build a bespoke solution that addressed one of the most pressing needs for police forces across the UK. We have seen significant interest in the solution from other forces, and will be rolling these out over the next few months.”

The new refuge cameras will be installed at the following locations before March 31:


  • Outram Street, directly opposite the junction with Downing Street

  • Portland Square

  • The Old Market Place





Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, working in partnership with Ashfield District Council, Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire County Council, received £550k from the Government’s Safer Streets 3 Fund to improve the safety of women and girls in Sutton-in-Ashfield.

In a separate bid, the Commissioner, Bassetlaw District Council, Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire County Council secured a further grant of £550k to fund improvements in Worksop South.

Both projects have bought investment in additional CCTV, improved street lighting, extra high-visibility police patrols and education and awareness training for young people and professionals to challenge misogyny and the attitudes that underpin violence.  The Safer Streets (Round 3) projects allowed partners to think innovatively about making public space safer especially for women and girls. These cameras will be evaluated over a 12-month period to determine how effective they have been.

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Posted on Thursday 24th March 2022
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