Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has promised an £800,000 investment to make the North East safer for women.
The funding includes extra CCTV in parks linked to control rooms, Metro safety volunteers on patrol, and an independent review of street lighting.
The Safer Streets funding package is part of the Home Office’s £25m initiative to tackle the safety concerns of women and girls in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder. Funding must be spent by 2022.
Investment will go to parks across all six council areas in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Gateshead, and Sunderland. Saltwell and Mowbray Parks are among those named by the Commissioner which will receive safety support.
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Ms McGuinness said she wanted a transport network in which women and all passengers feel safe to travel.
She said: “This is a big step towards making people feel safe on our streets.
“It’s great we have this investment, but one off funding pots are not going to make women feel safer. We have to bring about longer term change, and that means longer term funding from the government.”
A recent survey carried out by Northumbria Police found that over half of women felt unsafe or very unsafe in parks at night, with 42% of women feeling unsafe or very unsafe at night.
In Durham Constabulary, 73% of women reported experiencing inappropriate behaviour such as wolf-whistling or unwanted comments. 24% said they felt safe in the town centre during the evening.
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As discussions surrounding women’s safety continue, a Women’s Street Watch volunteer group has been established in Newcastle. The group is made up of female citizen volunteers walking the streets in the evenings to support other women who may feel unsafe.
It has gained thousands of social media followers in just days, hailing praise from users around the region.