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Nottingham park made safer by innovative refuge points


A popular local park has become the first location in Nottingham city to benefit from innovative refuge point cameras.

Forest Recreation Ground in Hyson Green, which is the home of Goose Fair, has been fitted with two new devices after being identified as a hotspot for antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls.

Located close to the NET Park & Ride car park and on the Noel Street entrance to the park, the refuge points are monitored 24 hours a day and allow anyone in distress to talk to CCTV control room staff by pushing a button at the bottom of a CCTV camera pole.

The refuge points are also equipped with an LED illuminated sign which uses photocell technology to turn on as it becomes dark.

The technology was developed from scratch in 2022 by Wireless CCTV, a company that was commissioned to create the devices which has since been replicated across Nottinghamshire and adopted throughout the country.

The work was made possible after the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire secured £3 million of Safer Streets funding, which is used for projects that help reduce neighbourhood crime and antisocial behaviour, as well as violence against women and girls, and delivered in partnership with Nottinghamshire Police and local authorities, including Nottingham City Council.

Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “The innovative refuge point cameras that were first used here in Nottinghamshire provide reassurance for anyone in trouble, knowing that pressing the button will get you through to the CCTV control room and enable you to speak to somebody.

“We listened to what women and girls wanted to make them feel safer and came up with an innovative solution to deliver.

“This is an area where we know people might need a little bit of extra help, and the trailblazing refuge point cameras are there to provide it."

Once an individual needing help is in touch with a member of the control room staff, they will triage any emergency call and will be able to immediately advise the person asking for help and if necessary ask the police to attend.

Nottinghamshire Police’s Neighbourhood Inspector for City Central, Liz Gaskin, said: “This is a key step forward in ensuring that people feel safer within our communities.

“There is a button to press so anybody needing help can access it straight away, the operators will be able to see you live on the cameras and ascertain whether you need an emergency service.

“This is an excellent concept. This park is used by a lot of people and can get quite dark at night which is why we felt it was needed here.”

Councillor Sajid Mohammed, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion, said: “It’s wonderful that the new CCTV refuge points have been installed as it shows the power of partnership.

“Nottingham City Council, along with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, Nottinghamshire Police and the voluntary sector have come together to secure an amazing amount of money through Safer Streets funding.

“It allows neighbourhoods to tackle antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls. The new device being launched will significantly help us to deal with those issues.

“Lots of people use the park every day and we want to give them that reassurance so our communities can feel safe in this area.”

POW Nottingham is a charity which offers a range of help and advice to those working within the sex industry, supporting online and off-street workers, students, under 25s and LGBTQ+ workers.

They work with hard-to-reach people who are vulnerable through issues including drug dependency, coercion and exploitation.

POW’s Violence Against Women and Girls Specialist Navigator, Sam Richardson-Martin, said: “We’re a charity that has been supporting sex workers for more than 30 years now, so the idea of having these refuge point cameras at Forest Recreation Ground is something we’ve been involved in right from the beginning.

“Seeing it now put into place is great as it will be invaluable to our service users and their feelings of safety.

“Their ability to access support when they may need it in the middle of the night will make a huge difference.”

Find out more about the new refuge point cameras HERE.

Posted on Tuesday 6th February 2024
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