Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has announced that her office has been successful with two further bids to the Home Office as part of its Safer Streets Campaign, amounting to almost £900k and residents in both Bedford and Luton will benefit.
The two bids were based on dramatic improvements to community safety around Midland Road in Bedford and High Town in Luton. Residents and businesses will see an investment of £434,000 for the Midland Road area and £448,150 in High Town.
The money awarded, totalling £882,150, will be spent in areas such as enhancing CCTV coverage using brand new technology, new gating around car parks and back alleys to prevent criminals from gaining access to homes or stealing cars, advanced home security equipment including doorbells showing the caller and bespoke crime prevention advice for both residents and businesses.
“It’s almost unheard of for a PCC and her team to win more than one bid into such community funds and this reflects the incredible amount of work put into both bids by my Chief of Staff, Clare Kelly, and Antonina Belcheva who works on grants’ bids for me.
“They very closely liaised with the local authority heads of Community Safety who really got behind the bids with innovative ideas, especially around the sort of technology that can help residents to be safer and provide effective target-hardening of vulnerable areas and vehicles.
“I’m absolutely delighted that within a month of winning £48,000 from the Ministry of Defence in bids to tackle Domestic Abuse, my office has been successful once again with landing the evidence of genuine need here in Bedfordshire,” said PCC Holloway.
As part of the applications process, research was conducted by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (OPCC) Commissioning Officer, Antonina Belcheva, who worked in partnership with Bedfordshire Police’s Community Policing Inspector, Darren Turney, and Architectural Liaison Officer, Pete Knowles together with John McKinney and Sarah Stevens from the Bedford Community Safety Partnership and Tara Lynch, Luton Borough Council’s Anti Social Behaviour Case Management Officer.
The two areas to benefit were identified through the research of this group and chosen because of their particularly high levels of local crime and deprivation. High Town in Luton is an area found to be within the top 10-20% of most deprived areas in the country and is particularly affected by problems associated with the on-street sex trade and Anti Social Behaviour.
The Bedford Community Safety Partnership conducted a borough-wide survey to understand perceptions and concerns around crime and Anti Social Behaviour with the results showing Midland Road as a key area of concern. The Community Safety Partnership is working with the OPCC in the area due to its exposure to street drinking, homelessness and drug use.
Councillor Jacqui Burnett, Portfolio Holder for Safer and Stronger Communities in Luton, said: “Being successful in obtaining the Safer Street Fund means that a number of sustainable initiatives can be implemented, to improve the area in the long term for the benefit of local residents and visitors.”
I look forward to seeing the difference the funding will make
– Andrew Malcolm
Councillor for High Town, Andrew Malcolm, said: “I am really pleased this money has been allocated to High Town. It will be important to ensure local residents are able to shape the proposals and I look forward to seeing the difference the funding will make.”
Councillor Ben Foley, who covers Castle Ward which includes Midland Road, said: “This is really good news – both Cllr Bywater and I have been putting a lot of time and effort in to making sure this part of our ward reaches its potential, and this sort of investment could really help.”
Midland Road residents have been blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour
– cllr Lucy Bywater
Councillor Lucy Bywater, who also covers the area of Midland Road, said: “This successful bid is such good news for Midland Road residents who have been blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour. And it is a particular area where a high number of households also suffer deprivation. They have the right to feel safe, both at home and in the neighbourhood. We look forward to seeing this funding make a real difference to people’s lives.”
The projects will be run by local authorities overseen by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner who will liaise with local residents’ organisations and those living and working in the neighbourhoods to ensure the community is fully involved in the projects.
“I want local residents and businesses to own these projects with us. They know the area best and can contribute to making these neighbourhoods safer for the community as a whole. People have every right to feel safe in their homes and it’s been known for years that both Midland Road and High Town experience a disproportionate number of local crime issues – but we want to turn that around,” said PCC Holloway.
Further details will be announced about the project in coming months. The OPCC will be working closely with the Home Office, attending relevant workshops, to ensure the money is spent to best effect. There will be opportunities for residents and businesses in the areas of Midland Road and High Town to share their views and be involved in the project design and implementation.
Residents and community associations wanting to engage with the Safer Streets projects can contact the OPCC on PCC@Bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk