A cash boost of £550,000 has been secured by Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner in a bid to improve the safety of women and girls across the county.
The funding will be invested in 18 parks across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to install new CCTV cameras, improve lighting and increase visibility.
Working with local authorities and Leicestershire Police, PCC Rupert Matthews successfully bid for the funding in the third round of the Home Office’s Safer Streets fund – receiving the maximum available grant.
It follows Mr Matthew’s survey earlier this year which sought to capture how safe women and girls feel across the county.
“We have listened very carefully to local women to understand where they feel most vulnerable and at risk,” he said.
The survey helped to determine how the funding would be spent.
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After the kidnapping and brutal murder of Sarah Everard in March this year and the alleged killing of four women in Leicestershire that have followed, calls have been made to prioritise women’s safety in public spaces.
To improve visibility in parks and reduce secluded areas, work will be undertaken to cut back foliage and undergrowth.
Mr Matthews said: “Women and girls have a right to feel safe everywhere – at home, online and in our public spaces.
“This funding will enable us to make immediate changes to improve personal safety and reduce the opportunity for crime and violence while giving women greater confidence to walk without fear.”
The grant will also fund the launch of a ‘Behaviour Change’ campaign across the force area to tackle underlying attitudes and inequalities that help to foster gender-based violence.
Improvements as part of the project will include the following parks:
- Victoria Park, Braunstone Park, Abbey Park, Western Park, Bede Park, Aylestone Meadows, Rally Park and Knighton Park in Leicester
- Bradgate Park and Queens Park in Charlton
- Warwick Park Kibworth Harcourt and Welland Park in Harborough
- Clarendon Park in Hinckley and Bosworth
- Melton Country Park in Melton
- Brock Hill Country Park and Blaby Road Park in Oadby and Wigston
- Cutts Close Park and Tod’s Piece Park in Rutland.
This latest funding boost marks the third round of the Safer Streets fund. Previously, funding awarded from the scheme has been helped to tackle burglary, theft and robbery in parts of the county.