The Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), along with Bedfordshire Police and Central Bedfordshire Council hosted their second Safer Streets event in Dunstable on Saturday 25th September 2021 as part of the Safer Streets Project.
The Safer Streets project aims to reduce crime and make local areas safer for residents. The event was held in the Manshead area of Dunstable after it was awarded £432,000 from the Home Office to enhance the safety of the area.
Local residents were invited to come along to Downside Community Centre in Dunstable to speak with the OPCC, Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Police Dog Unit, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and other local partners who have been supporting the project.
With the received funding from Home Office the area will benefit from:
- Improved Street Lighting
- New CCTV Cameras
- Establishing a Street Watch within the local community or another community group
- Establishing a Safer Street Hub in the area
- Providing residents with SmartWater, Ring Door Bells and crime prevention advice
The Safer Streets team, including officers from Central Bedfordshire Council, the OPCC and volunteers also completed over 900 home visits within the area two days prior to the event to raise awareness and encourage local residents to come along to the event.
Over 60 residents completed a survey to give feedback about their local area. They were provided with SmartWater, referred to the Signpost Hub, Fire Service or the Bobby Scheme for further support. The Bobby Scheme is registered charity that provides free home security for those aged over 65 or who are considered vulnerable.
Highlights of the community engagement included:
- Over 80 residents attending
- Children provided with free toys from Embrace Child Victims of Crime, a national charity who provides support to children and their families who have been victims of serious crime
- Luton Football Club engaging children in football darts
- Wicketz providing cricket activities
- Residents engaging with the fire service and Beds, Cambs and Herts (BCH) police dog unit.
Central Bedfordshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety teams also attended the event. They were able to provide support and advice to their tenants who were able to raise any issues or questions they had about their property. The Community Safety team promoted local support services available and enabled residents to raise any concerns they had about their local area.
PCC Festus Akinbusoye said “I am so pleased to see that the funding we won for the Manshead area from the Home Office earlier this year is being put to good use. The funding gained by the PCC will be invested in preventative approaches to make the community safer in the Manshead area. The ambition is to increase the level of pride in the community and reduce the fear of crime”.
“I’m also delighted that Central Bedfordshire has been selected in this funding round. We use an evidence-based approach to determine an area where this investment will have the greatest impact on the lives of residents because I want our residents to feel safer on our streets, and this investment will help in achieving this.”
Antonina Belcheva, Safer Streets Project Manager said “Having completed two previous Safer Street Projects in Bedford and Luton, it shows partnership and joint working is key of success. Residents of the Manshead area were welcomed to engage with us and we encouraged them to sign up to the Street Watch scheme”.
“I would like to thank Central Bedfordshire Council’s community safety team who have been so supportive from the start of the initiative. Our partner agencies such as Signpost, Link to Change, YouTurn Futures, Embrace and Victim Support are continuing to play vital part in the project. I am looking forward of us implementing significant changes in the area. Central Bedfordshire Safer Communities team will be continuing carrying home visits offering crime prevention tools.”
Councillor Ian Bond, Deputy Executive Member for Community Services and Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “I’m extremely pleased that we are using this essential funding to introduce changes
that will make life safer for those living, working, or visiting the Manshead area”.
“We will be improving CCTV coverage and street lighting in the area and assisting residents with security systems for their properties, to generally make it harder for criminals to commit burglaries and robberies, which will not only help to reduce crime, but also the fear of crime will be reduced.”
If you’d like to find out more about becoming a Street Watch volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Street Watch assist the police by promoting good communication between neighbours and reporting of suspicious activity. It’s a great way for you to join the project and be a key factor in helping the community feel safe and unite in the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour.
If you would like to put forward any ideas to the team or have missed us during the home visits and would like to schedule a visit, please email: email@example.com