County Durham and Darlington Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has secured funding worth almost £1.5million to crackdown on anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood crime – and boost women’s safety.
The PCC submitted four successful bids to the fourth round of the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund, developed in partnership with Darlington Borough Council and Durham County Council, and netted a seven-figure pot to invest in safety improvements and crime prevention programmes across County Durham and Darlington over the next two years.
The funding, amounting to a total of £1,469,169.00 during 2022/23 and 2023/24, will be spent on a mixture of practical interventions including free home security, CCTV cameras, upgraded street lighting and additional policing resources and diversionary schemes that provide young people with meaningful activities to alleviate boredom and develop their interests and skills to prevent further problems.
Investment will concentrate on four key locations: Darlington East and North Road, Stanley and Ferryhill, Peterlee, and lastly Durham City Centre and Darlington Town Centre.
Primarily, the focus will be on reducing anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood crimes including burglary and will support Commissioner Allen’s plans to protect hardworking residents by tackling the issues that impact their lives the most.
In Durham City Centre and Darlington Town Centre, funding will be used to improve the safety of women and girls, reducing the opportunity of violence and street harassment and increasing women’s confidence when using public places.
Commenting on the announcement, Commissioner Allen said: “Tackling anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood crime are key priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and I am delighted to have secured this substantial funding boost to increase our efforts to protect people and property across the force area.
“This money will be invested in a number of exciting improvements to make our communities stronger and more resilient to crime and anti-social behaviour. It will also help my team and our partners address the root causes of nuisance behaviour and give young people alternative outlets to channel their energy and attention, bringing longer-lasting solutions to our communities.
“We have listened very carefully to the views of young people and local residents in building these plans to determine what provision is needed most to prevent problems. I am pleased the Home Office has endorsed our work and provided County Durham and Darlington with the funds local people deserve to improve their safety and security.
“The success of these bids is testament to the strong partnerships we have built with our local authority colleagues, educational leads and youth offending/justice leads in these areas, who were consulted and involved in every stage of the preparation process. The delivery of this project will be very much a team effort and I am grateful for their support in both informing this bid and for the valuable role they will play in bringing it to fruition.”
Detective Chief Inspector Neal Bickford of Durham Constabulary, said: “This funding will make a real difference to communities across County Durham and Darlington.
“It will provide additional investment and practical solutions to issues of crime and antisocial behaviour, including CCTV, fencing, alarms and extra support for managing the night-time economy.
“Security measures such as these have a significant impact on individuals, families and communities.
“We are therefore delighted that these projects have secured Safer Streets investment, which will help us work with our partners to reduce crime and make the community feel safer.”
Darlington City Council Leader Jonathan Dulston added: “It’s great to see Darlington being successful in this latest round of Safer Streets funding. The Council continues to work closely with Joy Allen and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office on reducing crime, building confidence and ultimately making the streets of Darlington safer.”
Cllr John Shuttleworth, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for highways, rural communities and community safety, said: “We’re really pleased that the bids for County Durham have been successful and look forward to working with the Police and Crime Commissioner and other partners to deliver the various schemes.
“Durham City centre, Stanley and Ferryhill, and Peterlee are all safe places to live, work and visit although as with communities across the country, they do experience some levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.
“These initiatives are aimed at addressing the ASB and crime that do occur and ensuring our communities remain safe and welcoming places for all.”
The funding bids comprise:
• £242,256 – Darlington East and North Road
• £146,533 – Stanley and Ferryhill
• £447,660 – Peterlee
• £632,720 – Durham City Centre and Darlington Town Centre