The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, has been successful in his bid for £300,000 from the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night (SWaN) Fund. The money will enable the Constabulary to invest in technology which will help provide reassurance to people in Cheshire after a night out, or when walking on the streets after dark.
John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said: “I am absolutely delighted that I’ve secured this funding. It will go a long way in helping to provide reassurance, especially at night, when people may have an increased feeling of vulnerability.
“In my Police and Crime Plan I commit to making our streets safer for everyone and especially for women and girls. We know from conversations and recent surveys that at times they do not feel safe. This funding success will enable more people in Cheshire to feel safer.”
The money will be spent on technology which will enhance the capabilities of the Constabulary’s Force Control Centre, and aims to reduce fear of sexual offending, improve the confidence that women and girls have in the police and justice system, and make Cheshire’s night-time economy safer for everyone. It will also provide additional visible resources around the nighttime economy.
The technology will enable victims of crime, or those who find themselves feeling in vulnerable position, to be in live video contact with the Control Room. Enabling a live link to trained responders will ensure people can access instant help, enable Control Room operators to deploy appropriate resources, and in some circumstances it could be utilised to support the gathering of urgent evidence, thereby supporting a victim through the criminal justice process and potentially increasing the likelihood of a conviction and enhanced justice for victims.
John Dwyer added: “This technology will have huge benefits when it comes to many crimes and not just those that affect women and girls. The control room operators are able to send you a secure link, direct to your phone and view the incident instantly, giving the caller quick reassurance.
“In the case of sexual assaults, if a victim calls the police immediately after an incident, the call handler can start recording a first account from the victim, enabling evidence collection at a very early stage, and may help to identify an offender if they are still in the area.”
Mark Roberts, Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary, said: “I am so delighted the Commissioner has secured this funding. It will make a real difference to our communities.”
This innovative use of technology will be complemented by a range of other activities to ensure women and girls feel safe in our communities across the county.