Funding secured to make Chelmsford’s streets safer

October 25, 2021 10:04 AM

CCTV cameraA range of projects to make Chelmsford's streets safer for all - but particularly women and girls - will be going ahead. Funding of £550,000 has been secured by Lib Dem-led Chelmsford City Council. The funding will be used for a mix of 16 infrastructure and education projects which will be set in motion over the autumn and winter to create a safer Chelmsford.

Action where it's most needed

The Home Office 'Safer Streets' funding was secured after community safety staff at the council put together a bid, setting out where improvement was most needed.

This included education for all ages, street lighting and CCTV in the Bunny Walks (near the river Chelmer - an area which was indentified as a place where people felt unsafe), youth work, landscaping and digital support to make the walks a safer place to be, the creation of Safe Spaces for women and girls across the city and, crucially, education on healthy relationships.

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for Safer and Greener Chelmsford, said, "Making our streets safer requires action on many different fronts. We can add more streetlights, more CCTV, more fencing - but to see real change, we need to change the behaviour that's making people feel unsafe. As women have been saying for a long time (not just in the wake of Sarah Everard's murder) that means changing the behaviours of certain men.

"We and our partners will work in schools with young people to teach them what healthy relationships look like at a young age. We'll work in the university to talk about violence towards women and girls. We'll use the power of social media to show why harassment is deeply wrong and what it does to people. And we'll teach adults working with young people to spot the signs of unhealthy sexual attitudes developing and to intervene early."

Some of the funding will also go towards extending services which have already been proven effective in protecting residents. This includes CCTV, the SOS Bus - which provides support for people out and about on Friday and Saturday nights - and 'Days of Action', where workers from the council, police and other organisations focus together on one area to make a big difference to the community.

Walk safely, day and night

Cllr Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said, "We want Chelmsford to be a place where everyone, especially women and girls, can feel that they walk safely. There is no place here for any behaviour which intimidates or threatens others and no area which should feel unsafe. This funding will make possible many projects which Chelmsford City Council has been working towards, including more CCTV, safe spaces for women and girls, and the excellent SOS Bus being in the town centre on more nights each month.

There is more to be done, especially to change attitudes amongst men, but this is a great stride towards a safer Chelmsford."

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner, said: "Only by working in partnership can we make our city centres and communities places that everyone, especially women and girls, can feel safe in day and night.

"This money we have successfully secured from the government will help us do just that. "The projects that we can now deliver really will make a difference. They have all be designed to make areas more inviting and will encourage residents to reclaim the public space, giving criminal activity no place to thrive and preventing crime from happening."