Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry at the Retford refuge point
A ground-breaking CCTV refuge point scheme first launched in Notts is being expanded to improve safety in another town centre - after further funding from Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry.
Bassetlaw District Council has installed the new device in Retford town centre for people to use if they feel unsafe, threatened, or need help.
It comes after the first CCTV refuge point in the country was installed in Worksop earlier this year, as part of the national Safer Streets initiative, following a successful funding bid from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Refuge points allow people to press a button which gives them direct access to the council’s CCTV control room operators, who can assess the caller’s situation and contact the police on their behalf should they be at risk. The refuge point also provides surveillance 24 hours a day, seven days a week and acts as a light source during hours of darkness.
The new refuge point, funded by a grant from the Nottinghamshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, is located opposite the Market Square, next to Santander, and has been installed by CCTV firm SSC Specialist Security Ltd.
Commissioner Henry said: “We were proud to become the first force in the country to utilise this innovative technology when it was installed in Worksop earlier this year as part of the Safer Streets programme.
“This expansion of the concept into Retford, with further funding from our 2021/22 grant to the Safer Nottinghamshire Board, shows just how dedicated we are to improving safety and increasing public confidence in our public places, especially among women and girls.
“Measures like these, being driven by our partners at Bassetlaw District Council, give people greater reassurance that they can get help immediately if they find themselves in a vulnerable or threatening situation and contribute to a greater public confidence as we continue to Make Notts Safe.”
Cllr Julie Leigh, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “Initially, the CCTV Refuge Points were brought to Worksop as part of the Safer Streets 3 Project earlier this year. We are proud to now bring this technology to Retford to further deter anti-social behaviour and instances of violence, specifically against women and girls, taking place in the district.”
“We hope that this new equipment will help to make those who visit, live, or work in Retford feel safe and protected. We are also asking that the public use the CCTV Refuge Point responsibly and only in circumstances where they are feeling unsafe and require help.”
When activated, recording begins automatically and CCTV operators can use the Pan, Tilt, Zoom (PTZ) camera to capture evidence. They can also use the two-way radio to communicate with the caller and assess their situation.
The refuge point features three cameras – one within the help point, a fixed CCTV camera located 2.5 metres from the ground that records on approach and provides an overview of the street and surrounding area, and a PTZ camera that will record and track incidents in addition to providing a light source.
It also has a two-way radio function that enables users to speak to control room staff. Should communication be lost or cut-off by a potential attacker, operators have the ability to dial back to the help point. The refuge point is also equipped with an LED illuminated sign which uses photocell technology to turn on as it becomes dark, reducing the need for timers.
Chris Catchpole, Director of SSC Specialist Security Ltd, who has more than 25 years’ experience in surveillance camera design, said: “We are really proud to work with Bassetlaw District Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner to bring this innovative scheme to Retford.
“Essentially, we have amalgamated a range of technologies to create a one-off design for this project which gives women or girls another way of reaching out for help when they feel vulnerable or under immediate threat. These cameras have the potential of changing the way we protect our communities in the future and so we are anticipating significant interest as a result of this project.”
Posted on Wednesday 6th July 2022