Police intensify efforts to tackle violence against women and girls
- Credit: Gene Genie Photography/PA
As public attention has focused on violence against women and girls in recent weeks, Herts police and partner agencies have increased their efforts to tackle these issues.
The force, along with the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire and Herts County Council, have already been working to fully understand communities’ concerns following the murder of Sarah Everard in London earlier this year.
The County Community Safety Unit – a joint unit between police and county council – has conducted work to better understand the needs and views of women and girls, which included a personal safety survey in June which attracted more than 13,000 public responses.
The office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire has also recently secured almost £550,000 for safety measures, including improving lighting in underpasses in Hatfield.
The personal safety survey identified underpasses and subways among the top locations that women and girls felt at risk. It is hoped pedestrians using the area will feel safer as a result.
The national pilot StreetSafe scheme also provides a means by which the public can report locations in their neighbourhoods where they feel unsafe. In Hertfordshire, these reports are reviewed by local police alongside relevant partners to consider what preventative action can be taken to make the areas safer.
Assistant Chief Constable Genna Telfer said: “The public can be reassured that we take violence against women and girls very seriously and are committed to working with the public and our partners to reduce these awful crimes.
“The Sarah Everard case has left many of us feeling shocked and we recognise that women in particular will have been greatly shaken by what happened. We want to enhance trust between the public and the police by continuing to listen to concerns so we can address them.
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“It is vital that everyone feels safe using our streets and everyone feels like they can approach a police officer knowing they will be safe and will receive appropriate help and support.
"We have asked our officers to consider how people are feeling, and in particular when stopping a lone female to consider how they might be able to offer reassurance.”
David Lloyd, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, said: “I have been speaking to the Chief Constable Charlie Hall and partners to ensure the very real public concern of violence against women and girls is addressed with a cohesive and comprehensive approach.
"We now have a good evidence base following the results from the personal safety survey assessment to understand the perceptions of safety across public spaces.
“My office has just secured over £500,000 in Safer Streets funding from the Home Office for a project in Hatfield, which will make physical changes to the environment to make it safer for women and girls.
"We will then look to see how the positive outcomes from that scheme can be rolled out across the county and how changing the physical environment can improve safety.”
Jo Fisher, the newly appointed chair of the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Board, added: “This funding and what is stands for is a critical element of our shared commitment with the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, towards eliminating violence against women and girls, in all its forms.
“In my new role, I am looking forward to continuing to build on this existing partnership and working towards identifying resources to develop these vital services across the county.”
Anyone affected by issues such as sexual violence or domestic abuse can access help and support through a number of services in Herts. The support given is free and can be accessed independently of reporting to police.
- Any victim of crime can access support services through Hertfordshire’s victim care centre, Beacon. Call 03000 11 55 55 or visit hertfordshirebeacon.org for more information.
- The Herts SARC offers free support and practical help to anyone in Hertfordshire who has experienced sexual violence and/or sexual abuse. If you would like to speak to someone, call 0808 178 4448 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call IDVA services on 0300 790 6772 for advice and support. Or for more information go to hertssunflower.org.