Partners in Epsom come together to improve night-time safety
Main article content
Local partners in Epsom have been working together to help make the town’s streets and venues even safer, particularly for those out at night.
From new CCTV cameras to anti-drink spiking products and training for venue staff on sexual harassment, new measures are being brought in to tackle ongoing issues in Epsom’s town centre.
Analysis of crime in the area highlighted a peak in activity at night and a survey conducted with the local community confirmed there were concerns around night-time safety. Aggressive behaviour, drug use and extreme drunkenness came up as key issues, with woman in particular feeling less safe than men while out at night.
To address these issues, Epsom and Ewell Safer Neighbourhood Team and Epsom and Ewell Borough Council joined forces with Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend who secured the funding as part of the Safer Streets initiative. This is a Home Office led scheme that targets specific crime issues within local areas with the aim of reducing offending. In July, last year we were granted £270,000 of funding and we have used the funding to:
Improve CCTV coverage across Epsom town centre by installing 15 new cameras.
Provide all Epsom night-time venues with free anti-drink spiking bottle stoppers, drink covers and drink spiking test kits.
Work with training provider Good Night Out to start to deliver training to licensed premises to help staff feel confident spotting sexual harassment and know how to help.
Support our local Street Pastors through volunteer training and new uniforms.
We are also conducting a communications campaign to highlight these new measures to improve feelings of safety and deter potential offenders. Lastly, we have delivered a behaviour change campaign to alter men’s attitudes towards women. The ‘You’re Right, That’s Wrong’ campaign has been produced by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland alongside Leicestershire Police. Following the success of their campaign we have brought the message to Epsom and we’re calling on men to challenge behaviours such as public place harassment, unwanted persistent attention and misogynistic attitudes which can cause real harm. More information is available on our website here.
Inspector Jon Vale, Epsom and Ewell Borough Commander, said: “We’ve been working closely with local partners, including Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, to introduce these new measures to help Epsom be an even safer place to be at night, in particular for women and girls. This funding has allowed us to put our focus on areas where the community have told us they have concerns.
“Violence against women and girls is a priority for us, and alongside these changes we are also introducing a new proactive policing initiative. Plain clothed officers will support uniformed colleagues in identifying suspicious or predatory behaviour at night. They will be operating in the town centre on a regular basis, both inside and outside of licensed premises, to help venues achieve a safer environment for their customers.”
Councillor Alex Coley, Chair of the Crime and Disorder Committee, said: “The safety and wellbeing of residents and visitors in the borough is of paramount importance to the Council, and we are very pleased our application for funding to improve safety in Epsom town centre was successful.
“We hope that the measures that we and our partners at Surrey Police have introduced will mean that those going out in the borough can enjoy themselves while also feeling comfortable and safe in our town centre.”