Sexual harassment has been worryingly accepted as ‘an everyday occurrence’ in society, and it is crucial that everyone plays their part in calling out these behaviours, and highlighting the impact it has for women.
The ‘No More Excuses’ campaign supports the Constabulary’s wider Safer Streets initiative, a Home Office fund that supports police forces in order to prevent, reduce and tackle neighbourhood crime, anti-social behaviour and violence against women and girls.
In Spring 2022, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer secured £1.5 million from the fund to allow the Constabulary to put into place several interventions and initiatives that make a real difference to the safety of women and girls across the county.
Working together for even safer streets in Cheshire
Safer Streets is an extensive initiative that sees Cheshire Police ramping up its determination to make Cheshire’s streets even safer. It aims to benefit everyone who visits, lives or works in Cheshire.
There are a number of projects within Safer Streets and this page is where you can keep up to date on all of the activities.
‘Safe space’ safety vehicles, branded as Safety Buses, patrol city and town centres where there are high levels of night life. They are clearly visible and provide a safe space for vulnerable people. The vehicles have on-board safety equipment such as defibrillators, first aid kits, phone chargers and bottles of water. They are staffed by police officers and community safety specialists from partner agencies who are on hand to ensure that anyone in need of help is cared for until they are able to get home safely.
With the guardianship project we are creating community crime prevention groups made up of paid and volunteer recruits. They are trained to promote safe practices like ‘Ask for Angela’, spot unacceptable behaviour and intervene to keep people safe. Guardians include front line workers in licensed premises, taxi drivers and street pastors.
If you work in the night-time economy and want to find out more about the free training that is available now, watch the video below and go to Safer Streets | Purple Leaf to sign up.
Personal safety app
The Hollie Guard personal safety app helps the user to discreetly alert their chosen emergency contacts, pinpoints their location, and sends video and audio evidence directly to their mobile phones. An alert is automatically generated if the user doesn’t arrive safely at their destination.
An enhanced version is supplied to domestic abuse and sexual violence victims who can activate a discreet alarm to a police-approved 24/7 immediate response service. The app features evidence gathering, appointment management, and victim protection for those deemed to be at high risk.
There are three aspects to the education programme. The first is a behaviour change programme being delivered to pupils aged from 11 to 17 years in high schools and colleges across the county. The programme has been developed to provide teachers with the confidence and competence to engage with children and young people about consent, healthy relationships and sexual misconduct as part of the Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum.
The second is the introduction of a new Sexual Safety Liaison Officer to work in selected schools. The officer works with teachers who are trained to support students with sexual behaviour issues and help them access further help. This early intervention has the long-term potential to reduce offending rates and the chances of pupils becoming victims.
The third is a Bystander Training package. Aimed at key stage 3, 4 and 5, the pupils will gain an understanding and recognise what problematic behaviours are in relation to ‘sexual harassment’ as well as spotting the signs, identifying safe ways to respond and gaining support for those affected and those witnessing incidents.
The initiative also focuses on training for those who are studying, or already working in, the beauty and wellbeing sector. Evidence suggests victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence are more likely to disclose their experiences at a salon or in similar surroundings. The training helps students and professionals, such as beauty therapists, hair stylists and manicurists, to spot the signs of abuse and deal correctly with any disclosures from their clients, ensuring they are referred to the appropriate support services.
GoodSAM technology has revolutionised emergency call handling, providing enhanced capabilities and additional reassurance to callers. It has enabled vulnerable people to receive immediate face to face video communication, instant location tracking for those who are lost and the ability to upload attachments that can be used as future evidence.
Safer Streets funding allows for enhanced communication via GoodSAM; for example: providing a live video link for victims of domestic abuse during follow-up contact with the police - offering more reassurance than a phone call - and facilitating diary appointments by sending a link to the victim’s phone.
Additionally, it supports the delivery of investigation updates to victims which will enhance the experience of the victim and improve confidence in the justice process.
Safer Streets is funded from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund and was secured by John Dwyer, Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner. The £1.5 million from the fund, combined with matched funding, totals an investment that exceeds £2.5 million.