New £750,000 Safer Streets initiative officially launched

A new ‘Safer Streets’ initiative has been launched in Bridgend County Borough, with the aim of delivering new approaches to address women’s safety, neighbourhood crime and anti-social behaviour.

The programme is a joint initiative between Bridgend County Borough Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales and was recently awarded almost £750,000 of funding from the Home Office as part of a £75m programme that encourages Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities to bid for investment for initiatives to prevent neighbourhood crime.

An official launch was held at ‘The Zone’, which is a community support centre that has previously received funding from the initiative. The event was attended by representatives from Bridgend County Borough Council, South Wales Police, Welsh Women’s Aid and other key partners. There were also activities and information given out to residents at Bridgend Shopping Centre (Brackla Street).

Bridgend County Borough Council previously invested £595,000 to upgrade CCTV systems right across the county borough, including the four town centres of Bridgend, Maesteg, Porthcawl and Pencoed. Old cameras have been replaced and the monitoring centre has also been improved. This is a 24/7 operation and is worked on in partnership with South Wales Police.

This additional funding from the ‘Safer Streets’ initiative will now allow for CCTV to be further expanded across the area as a whole.

Welsh Women’s Aid also play a key role in the partnership by offering bystander intervention training to all college, sixth form and night-time economy staff.

The aim is to reduce and prevent violence against women. Sessions will be held in both Bridgend and Maesteg.

The projects include:

  • Installing new street-based CCTV Cameras in key locations in the county borough
  • Rolling out Mobile Youth Unit vehicles and equipment to aid youth engagement through the delivery of meaningful activities in anti-social behaviour hotspots
  • Crime prevention road shows targeting specific areas to encourage Neighbourhood Watch Schemes and deliver information packs aimed at reducing residential burglaries
  • Increase police patrols and introduce taxi marshals in Bridgend town centre during the night-time economy to reduce violence and harassment offences and improve feelings of safety
  • Commission a ‘Safe Space Scheme’ for town centres where people can seek refuge if they feel threatened or intimidated
  • Introduce a street art project and Walkabout Street shows in areas of Bridgend town centre suffering from graffiti and vandalism to improve the environment and reduce the fear of crime
  • Introduce ‘Don’t be a Bystander’ training and interventions to students and workers in the night-time economy to reduce violence against women and girls
  • Offering free self-defence classes in venues across the county borough

Community safety is high on our agenda and we are delighted that this new round of Safer Streets funding is already being put to good use and benefitting our local communities.

We will continue to work closely with our partners at South Wales Police and other blue light services to ensure people in the county borough feel free from threat or danger when out in our communities.

Councillor Neelo Farr, the council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration

South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael said: “We have worked closely with the councils and other partners to identify in detail the drivers of local problems and how best we can tackle them together.

“This money will be invested in making the streets of Bridgend safer for women and girls, as well as reducing the impact of anti-social behaviour across our communities. Preventing violence against women and girls has always been a specific priority for me as Commissioner and while we have done a lot to tackle the issue in South Wales, it remains one of the biggest problems we face, and we must always strive to do more if we are to significantly reduce the intimidation and harassment experienced by women and girls across our communities.

“Working in partnership our focus is both on immediate benefits from practical measures like CCTV and physical improvements to the environment and to achieve sustainable long-term improvements to create safe, confident and resilient communities. It is a simple fact that when we work together, we achieve more than we achieve alone.”