Almost Â£ 270,000 in new funding has been secured by the Merseyside Police Commissioner to invest in making women feel safer on the Liverpool City area transport network.
Emily Spurrell received money from the government’s Safer Streets Fund after working with Liverpool City Council and the TravelSafe Partnership on a joint bid to address women’s fears of traveling in and out of the city center, particularly the night.
The offer follows a survey by the Police Commissioner, which showed that 54% of women did not feel safe using public transport in Merseyside at night and almost 42% had concerns about to their use during the day.
It also follows extensive consultation with stakeholders, public transport users, student groups and young people who noted that fears about the use of public transport have increased since the tragic murder of Sarah Everard.
The new funding will be used to improve CCTV coverage, particularly at Liverpool One, Queens Square and Sir Thomas Street city center bus stations, create new ‘help points’ connected to the CityWatch control room and better links with emergency services. The travel centers at each of the bus stations will also become âsafe spacesâ for anyone feeling vulnerable.
Bus drivers, front-line bus station staff and taxi drivers will receive âobserver trainingâ to better understand and know how to prevent sexual violence. The training will equip them to act as ‘gatekeepers’, making passengers feel more secure.
The money will also be used to launch a text messaging service, specifically requested by young people, which can be used to report problems and help identify offenders. It will also fund a new educational resource for up to 70 schools across Liverpool, raising awareness of sexual harassment and misogyny.
Funding will also be used to provide an increased, uniformed police presence on the transportation network through monthly awareness days at transportation hubs, partnership days and the use of the mobile police unit in areas. sensitive and at times when women feel most in danger. The Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service will also support the campaign by redirecting their emergency fire trucks along any areas identified as having a problem via the text messaging service for further reassurance.
All of this work will be supported by the launch of a new communication campaign that will highlight the work carried out to secure the network and publicize the means to report any concerns.
Merseyside Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said:
âMore than 1,500 women in Merseyside have responded to my public survey about their feeling of safety. Their responses highlighted that more women do not feel safe on public transport at night than in any other place or location in our region.
âNo one should be too worried or afraid to use our public transportation system. We have listened carefully to their voices and this offer has been developed specifically to address their concerns.
âWith this funding, we will be able to put in place relatively quickly significant, long-term improvements that I hope will make a real difference. We want women to feel safe using the transportation system and to ensure that in the event of an incident that concerns them, they can report it quickly and easily and that there is someone on site who is there. trained to respond effectively.
âMy thanks go to all the partners who worked to put together this offer. Our goal must be to make sure that everyone can feel confident entering and leaving our city center. While this does not solve the fundamental problem of male violence against women and girls, I hope this major new investment will help women be safer and feel more secure.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the City of Liverpool region, said:
âThe murder of Sarah Everard sent shockwaves across the country and sparked an important national debate on the safety of women and girls in public places. Whether it’s using public transport at night, running, or walking home, women too often feel like they are unable to do things that men take for granted. because of the risk to their safety.
âIn this country, there is an epidemic of violence against women, of which men are the main perpetrators. Two women per week are killed by their partners, one in four is a victim of domestic violence, and countless women feel unsafe just walking the streets.
“I will work with the Merseyside Police, the CCP and others to make public transport – and our streets – the safest possible place for women.”
Liverpool City Council Warden Cabinet Member Cllr Abdul Qadir said:
âEveryone should feel safe on our public transport network and it is of great concern that a large proportion of women do not do so.
âThis funding is a step in the right direction to address their concerns and put in place practical measures that will educate transportation personnel, improve video surveillance and facilitate the reporting of concerns.
“This is really important, especially given the shocking murder of Sarah Everard which has troubled us all.”
Merseyside Police Superintendent Diane Pownall said:
âWe welcome this investment, which will allow us to do even more work to protect women and girls traveling to and from Liverpool.
âWe recognize that this is an issue that requires a number of organizations working together, and I look forward to connecting more with everyone involved.
“This allows the public to tell us where and when they don’t feel safe so that we, alongside our partners, can take practical steps to address those fears, allay concerns and, ultimately, ensure the safety of women and girls in Liverpool. â
The Safer Streets Fund first opened in January 2020 with the aim of tackling acquisition crime in sensitive areas. Merseyside has already successfully secured three rounds of funding to tackle problems in two areas of Birkenhead and Kirkdale in north Liverpool.
The third round of funding, totaling Â£ 23.5million, was launched in June with a particular focus on projects focused on improving the safety of women and girls. Offers were evaluated against a set of criteria and police commissioners were asked to present a crime reduction plan at a local crime hotspot, demonstrating value for money, proof of commitment community and long-term sustainability.