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Wirral Council, Merseyside Police, and the Police and Crime Commissioner hosted a community day in Seacombe yesterday, Wednesday 15 December.
The event was to show people how the second phase of funding for the Wirral ‘Safer Streets’ project has been used in parts of Birkenhead and Seacombe to make those areas safer. The event was attended by representatives of the agencies involved and many local residents.
Mark Camborne is Assistant Director for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Transport at Wirral Council. Speaking to birkenhead.news, he said, “The council has a legal responsibility to provide a community safety strategy. That’s a strategy that brings all our partners together to ensure that we can have safe places to live visit or work in.
“Safer Streets is an annual Home Office funding programme. Over the last two years, we’ve put bids in that have been successful that will allow us to put in additional CCTV cameras, alley gates, and other crime prevention measures.”
Mark explained how local communities can benefit from the scheme, “I think what’s really pleasing about Safer Streets is that it has allowed us to work with smaller communities who might have been overlooked in the past. But these smaller communities also have problems in terms of criminal activity taking place which can cause great distress to residents. What Safer Streets allows us to do is to work with those communities on a smaller scale and to try and work with them to bring back the community spirit and bring communities together.”
Earlier this year, the ‘Safer Streets 1’ project saw an investment of £550,000 in the North Birkenhead area. This funding has been used to upgrade existing CCTV to digital, complemented by the creation of a new CCTV control room that is equipped with a state-of-the-art digital video management system. In the community itself, 43 alley gates were installed; 18 community clean-up days were held and street lighting was upgraded.
The council has installed alley gates, 24/7 live-monitored CCTV cameras, and upgraded street lighting following consultation with residents. Mark told us that the council is in conversation with residents on a one to one basis and listening to them by putting measures in place that the communities have specifically asked for.
Emily Spurrell, Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside told us, “I think a big part of what I want to do is what we call ‘designing out crime.’ This involves making physical changes [such as CCTV cameras] or introducing preventative measures to stop crime from happening in the first place.
“All of these measures play a really good role, but because of the huge cuts that we’ve seen to local authorities over previous years, they just haven’t got the budgets to put these things in place. I’m really glad that we’ve got this funding again to start to make some of the physical changes.
“I think it’s about feeling safer. And so, as a result, we’re already seeing burglary and robbery drop in this area. That’s a good sign that the measures are working.”
Martin Earl is Police Superintendent for local policing with Merseyside Police. He told us, “The need for the community to feel safe in their homes, or when they’re out and about is very important to us. Residents don’t want to see gangs hanging around and criminal activity taking place in their community. Safer Streets gives residents that reassurance that they are safer, and then that builds and develops community resilience.”
This latest project in Seacombe aims to reduce burglary and will also include work and initiatives to tackle anti-social behaviour such as, but not limited to, fires, drug-related crime, fly-tipping and dog fouling.
There was also a festive carol performance by Riverside Primary School. PCC Emily Spurrell chose a piece of art by one of the pupils from the school to be made into Christmas Cards sent out by the PCC office. The winning artist received a prize for the artistic endeavour.
For more information about Wirral Council’s Safer Streets programme, please visit https://www.wirral.gov.uk/communities-and-neighbourhoods/crime-reduction/safer-streets
Main image: Riverside Primary School performed carols at the event. All images: www.fotopiaimages.com
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