Commissioner Henry alongside Nottingham Police Chief Kate Meynell
A £750,000 project to improve public safety in Nottingham has been hailed a huge success after a significant drop in neighbourhood crime, antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls.
The Safer Streets project brought a series of security interventions to public spaces including new CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras, free security devices for burglary victims, the introduction of a mobile Safe Space van to keep people safe at night and funding to help reopen a youth club.
The activity was targeted around the Arboretum, Bestwood and Top Valley and Radford and The Park and - alongside the continuing hard work of Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham City Council’s Community Protection Team – helped drive a combined reduction of 56% in house burglary, a 22% fall in vehicle crime, a 36% drop in violence against women and girls in public, and a 16% reduction in antisocial behaviour.
This was in the 12 months from October 2022 when the project started, compared to the previous three-year average.
Nottingham’s Safer Streets project was delivered by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, in partnership with Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham City Council, with funding from the Home Office.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “Safer Streets aims to make our public spaces safer and I’m delighted to see the huge success we’ve had, with these crime statistics showing we have achieved our ambition.
“It means residents are benefitting from a significant drop in each of the crime types we targeted with our interventions – neighbourhood crime, antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls.
“The partnership with Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham City Council to deliver this project has been outstanding and while the project is now completed, the legacy of this work will continue to have benefits for these communities with the additional infrastructure we have put in place.
“I have also agreed to provide over £300,000 of funding through the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure we can continue to make a difference in Nottingham during the next Safer Streets programme.”
Residents living in Waverley Street in the Arboretum saw some of the biggest improvements, with levels of antisocial behaviour decreasing by 90%, from an average of 39 incidents a year in the three-year baseline to just four reports in the intervention period. Forest Road West also decreased from an average of 31 incidents to just two reported antisocial behaviour occurrences (-94%).
One of the Safer Streets interventions in this area was funding for Radford-based charity POW to employ two members of staff to support vulnerable women working in the sex industry in the Arboretum area, offering them a range of help and advice.
Local residents were also given free home security devices to help prevent incidents, including video doorbells, CCTV and motion sensor lighting.
Chief Inspector Chris Pearson, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We know that some areas around Bestwood and Top Valley have suffered with antisocial behaviour, so it is really reassuring that residents feel that we are addressing their concerns, and this is being reflected in our crime figures.
“We still have plenty of work to do. However, hopefully these steps show how serious we are taking these issues. We know the blight that anti-social behaviour can have on people’s lives.
“We have also put in lots of new measures including better CCTV cameras around the Forest Recreation Ground – an area that has been affected by crime including robberies in the past.
“We also have a dedicated burglary team which have put some of our most prolific offenders behind bars. It is imperative that we listen to our communities and put our resources into the concerns that affect them. Hopefully these results show we are doing just that.”
Other Safer Streets projects across the Nottingham area included funding to support the launch of the Consent Coalition’s Night-Time A-Z of Consent, paying for a tram to be emblazoned with the campaign’s messaging to help reach thousands of people prevent violence against women and girls.
Another project the funding helped to pay for was to help get the Ridge Adventure Centre, in Ridgeway, Top Valley, back in action in February. The cash is also providing three evening sessions a week for young people to attend activities including boxing, football, table tennis and pool. It is hoped the centre will have a lasting impact by reducing antisocial behaviour in the area.
In Top Valley, a 2m-tall metal fence was also erected around the plantation site off Thompson Gardens to prevent the area being used for antisocial behaviour and a rat-run for criminals on off-road bikes to evade police.
Councillor Sajid Mohammed, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion at Nottingham City Council, said: “Safer Streets 4 has been a great example of partnership working in Nottingham. The funding has been used for delivery of a range of measures designed to tackle acquisitive crime, antisocial behaviour, and improve the safety of women and girls in our city.
“The programme was targeted towards areas of the city which are disproportionately impacted by these issues, with Bestwood, Hyson Green and Arboretum, and Radford all benefitting from this particular round of funding.
“A range of activity has been undertaken, including new CCTV cameras and household security devices installed in Bestwood and Hyson Green, provision of youth activities in Top Valley and funding for the Consent Coalition, which works to raise awareness on the importance of consent, challenge myths about rape and sexual violence, and encourage victims to access support and report incidents.”
Simon Smalley had been the victim of homophobic abuse, harassment, and antisocial behaviour from youths in the area for an extended period of time.
He and his partner finally gave the police a call after the incidents began to pile up, leading to a visit from PCSO Amardeep Sandhu who conducted a full security check of the property and advised on a few additional security devices to protect the property.
Simon, a local writer found out about the Safer Streets scheme when a flyer came through his front door.
“It’s wonderful that the funding is there for such great initiatives to be implemented,” he said.
“Before we were quite unsure of going out in the evenings. For five years or so myself and my partner would receive homophobic abuse from gangs of youths hanging around outside our home, it made us feel incredibly uncomfortable leaving the house.”
Gopal Sahota has four student properties in Lenton and jumped at the chance to have burglary prevention equipment fitted – including video Ring doorbells, CCTV, motion sensor lighting and window restrictors.
“The amazing thing is it's enhanced the properties so they're safer, the tenants feel safer and the community is safer because it's had an impact all around,” said Mr Sahota.
“It's also a great feature to add to the properties to say that they have got a higher level of security compared to other properties in the area. And the most amazing thing is that since this has been implemented, we've had a 43% reduction in burglary within the area. Now, that's really good news.”
Nottingham was one of a number of areas to benefit from Safer Streets investment after the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner secured a total of £3 million from the Home Office for projects across Nottinghamshire, which were delivered with police and local authority partners.
Posted on Wednesday 25th October 2023