Safer Streets Fund blog
January 2022: Basingstoke Update
We’re pleased to update you on the Safer Streets 2 Basingstoke project. It is an exciting couple of months for the project with many of the planned works now coming into fruition.
There is new lighting in Festival Place, covering the footbridge at the back of Sports Direct. This area is now better lit and has brought a large improvement from the previous set of lights. We have also placed orders for the subway lighting upgrade on Victory roundabout.
The local council have completed the vegetation management works for the project. This includes the removal of overgrown shrubbery behind the YMCA on Riverdene estate. We are also clearing out and tidying up shrubs and the hedgerow at the end of Goat Lane.
We’ve offered garage security equipment for many of the residents on Riverdene estate. So far we have 94 completed with many booked in for the next month. We also held a bike etching event back in October, with 43 bikes marked. We are planning to hold further events in February (4th & 21st) and March (4th & 21st). There we will provide bike etching for even more residents of Basingstoke.
Across the project we can now see all planning finalised as we move into construction phase. The main focus will now be on obtaining the CCTV. We have agreed the camera locations and will now work with the relevant suppliers to buy and install it.
We’re very pleased that a large amount of the works we identified are now in place. We continue to finish the remaining work and bring these improvements to Basingstoke.
November 2021: Mid-Project Update and SSF3
We have reached the half-way point in the Safer Streets 2 projects since the outcome of the funding was announced in June 2021. A lot of work has been taking place over the past four and a half months, and this iteration of the SSF blog will update you on what has been achieved so far, as well as some information on the third round of the Safer Streets Fund (SSF3).
If you haven’t already, read our first blog post which explains a little more about SSF, found at the bottom of this page.
The majority of the project in Basingstoke is based around increasing the CCTV coverage in the town centre. When adding to existing systems it requires lots of design work and planning. In our case, we also need to replace some lighting columns to be able to take the extra weight of a camera. The work is progressing, but with manufacturing and delivery timelines, this aspect of the project is likely to be finished closer to the project deadline of 31 March 2022.
Works to improve lighting across the foot bridge on Church Street are almost finalised. The hope is that this will improve feelings of safety in this area, as well as increasing visibility and natural surveillance.
We also held our first Bike Marking event in the Town Centre on Wednesday 27 October. With the help of two PCSOs we were able to mark 43 bikes and hand out secure locks. There are a number of marking kits and locks remaining so we will be holding more events before the end of the project in March. Keep an eye out on our social media pages and council pages for the next date.
The Garage Security element of the project is going successfully. We have acquired the security items and have now finalised a contractor for the installation. For those signed up, they should expect installation to occur in the next couple of weeks by an experienced company called 24-7 Locks Ltd. If you live in the Riverdene Estate and are yet to sign up, see the Basingstoke 2021-22 page for more details.
The project in Portsmouth is largely based around improving infrastructure such as lighting, opening up community spaces through removing solid brick walls and replacing with railings. This improves visibility and also natural surveillance to deter and prevent criminal activity. Due to the nature of this work, there are designs, planning and installation to be arranged.
As with the project in Basingstoke, this type of work is likely to be completed towards the end of the funding period in February or March 2022. The initial stages of this are progressing successfully and are on schedule.
The council have also reached out to local artists, to commission them to create artwork in the underpass which connects Paradise Street to Lower Arundel Street and Commercial Road. This will improve the aesthetic of the area but hopefully involve local residents and community groups. This work is to be completed by March 2022.
After the death of Sarah Everard in March 2021, the Home Office announced a further round of SSF funding to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) in public spaces. In October, we found out that we were successful with both our applications into the third round of SSF, securing a total of £648,755.
The projects will be based in Southampton (£192,545) and a joint project in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight (£456,210) and both contain education for young people around VAWG. There are also some physical interventions such as CCTV in both projects to help deter potential criminals but also to help gather evidence in the event that a crime is carried out.
As always, more information can be found on our dedicated Safer Streets page.
Keep an eye out for more blogs over the coming months.
Safer Streets Fund Explained
When announcements are made about money coming into your local area, it’s hard to realise what benefit this can have for your local community. Sometimes you don’t have a say into what is happening or changes that will be made, so it’s difficult to feel included in the project.
The Safer Streets Fund (also known as SSF) is a funding round by the Home Office to reduce crime, but with set requirements and conditions. Here you can find an introduction to the project, what we are hoping to achieve, and why it’s being done in this way.
SSF jargon explained
- OPCC (Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner) – the office supports the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC or Commissioner) to set a strategy for policing, reducing crime and disorder and to support victims. They act as a voice for residents of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on police and crime matters. The Commissioner is elected by the public and the OPCC help them to carry out their role effectively.
- Acquisitive Crime – a broader term which includes crimes such as burglary, theft, robbery and vehicle crime. It is where an offender gets some sort of material gain from a crime, such as stealing items or money.
- Target Hardening – securing or improving security of something to prevent crime. This may be things like better locks or marking valuable items but may also include CCTV and lighting which put people off from committing crime. CCTV also has the added benefit of gathering evidence for potential future prosecution.
- Evidenced Based – coming up with plans or proposals that are proven to work or backed up by information. For example, using crime statistics to choose which locations need to be made safer.
- Situational Crime Prevention – making changes to the environment or a certain place that deter people from committing crime. There are five key points to this: increasing the effort required to commit a crime; increasing the risks of committing a crime; reduce the rewards of crime; reduce reasons to commit an offence; and remove excuses for breaking the law.
What is the purpose of the Safer Streets Fund?
The pot of money is available to Police and Crime Commissioners to reduce crime in areas which have higher crime rates. Acquisitive crime made up 61% of all crime in 2019, so if we can prevent or reduce this, it allows the police to focus on other crimes which may be more serious.
The first round of SSF was based in Bargate, Southampton and was successfully completed by 31 March 2021. In January 2021, the second round of Safer Streets was launched with 8 weeks to put together an application. In that time we had to speak to each of the 14 council areas across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to see if they would support us in an application. What we learned from the first SSF round is that without strong council support you cannot successfully deliver the project.
We received interest from three areas: Basingstoke & Deane, Portsmouth, and Eastleigh; then we began development of our applications. After looking at crime data we were able to pick out the areas where the funding would have the most benefit and all three were focused on town centres or busy shopping areas and the surrounding houses.
Working with the councils, local police teams and key organisations such as businesses and community groups, we were able to put together some plans for the tight application deadline of 25 March 2021. The OPCC were allowed to submit three applications which had to be placed in an order of preference (our order was based on crime data). We were successful with two of the three applications, but the Eastleigh bid was never marked as the pot of money had run out after everyone’s first and second bids were marked. Our successful applications will be used to invest in the Town Centre and Eastrop area of Basingstoke (£275,179) and the Charles Dickens Ward of Portsmouth (£423,851).
Over the last couple of months, the OPCC along with Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council and Portsmouth City Council have been finalising proposals to make your local community a safer place. From a walk-around with the local policing team and community safety representatives from the councils, to meetings with ward councillors we have been working in partnership to ensure we have the correct interventions in place to prevent crime.
The way the Home Office funding is set out, we have to be specific with what the money is being spent on with very limited change (if any) allowed. This made it extremely difficult to ask all residents what they would like to see as the time limit was too short. Therefore, the evidenced based approach was used speaking to key people in the community and looking at data.
How will my views affect the project, if the plans are already final?
Part of what the government would like to see from SSF is that these methods and interventions work at reducing crime. We can look at crime figures and numbers but that doesn’t tell us the whole story. Even if the crime is reduced, this doesn’t always mean that people feel safe. We would like to know at the beginning of the project how safe you feel in your local area and your thoughts on the project and crime in your community. This then allows us to compare surveys from now, part way through the project, and after it is completed to see if the work is making people feel safer where they live, work or study.
By engaging with the project and learning more about it, we hope that you will be able to see why we have chosen a CCTV camera in one place or an extra light in another, for example. We hope that this makes you feel safe and that it also puts people off from committing crime.
If these two projects are successful, they can be used as evidence to support crime prevention in other areas. We can learn from what works and what isn’t quite right to make sure money is well spent in the future and people don’t become victims of crime.
As always, more information can be found on our dedicated Safer Streets Fund webpage: hampshire-pcc.gov.uk/safer-streets
Keep an eye out for more blogs which will talk about the two projects in more detail.