With the support of the National Police Chief’s Council, The Home Office has launched an online tool called StreetSafe which is to be piloted across police forces in England and Wales.
The tool allows anyone, particularly women and girls, to anonymously flag up public places where they have felt or feel unsafe and say why. It may be due to environmental issues, for example street lighting, abandoned buildings or vandalism and/or because of feeling threatened or at fear of harm in these areas, for example being followed or verbally abused.
It’s important to note that because StreetSafe is anonymous, it shouldn’t be used to report a crime or incident to the police. People should still call 999 in an emergency and all other non-emergency incidents should be reported through 101, or online via the North Yorkshire Police website. But by using StreetSafe, members of the public can anonymously provide information which can be used by police and other agencies help improve wellbeing and safety for communities.
The tool will be piloted for three months with progress and feedback being continually monitored. It will allow for flexibility to take learning and develop future requirements of the tool.
It's is available for everyone to use, but StreetSafe forms just one part of the Government’s whole system approach to tackling violence against women and girls, working with essential partners including the police, local authorities, schools and charities.
Speaking about the new tool, Minister for Safeguarding Victoria Atkins said:
“No one should fear walking the streets, but for too many women and girls the threat of intimidation and harassment whilst going about their everyday lives is all too familiar.
“Our Call for Evidence revealed the need for a space where people can share their experiences of feeling unsafe in public places – regardless of whether a crime has been committed.
“StreetSafe allows the public to flag concerns directly to police, ensuring that those responsible for making our streets safer use the data to improve safety and understand how local areas can better respond.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Neighbourhood Policing, Chief Constable Claire Parmenter, said:
“StreetSafe will provide us with information about the places that women and girls feel unsafe that can be used, alongside other information, to inform local decisions and changes to make women and girls feel safer.
“We continue to work hard to tackle violence against women and girls in all forms and we hope the data provided will enrich our understanding of our communities concerns.”