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On-street cameras with SOS help points have been launched in Nottinghamshire, at an event attended by Home Office officials responsible for overseeing the Safer Streets Fund covering England and Wales. Visitors included Paul Reagan, Head of the Neighbourhood Crime Unit; Chloe Jenkins, Safer Streets Fund Delivery Lead; and Tia Clarke, Safety of Women at Night Fund at the Neighbourhood Crime Unit.
The launch included demonstrations of the cameras, and presentations of wider Safer Streets work across the county. The manufacturer WCCTV created the help points, working, the firm reports, with Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Caroline Henry and Ashfield District Council as part of their Safer Streets work. After testing and a proof-of-concept trial, three Help Point systems have been installed in the town (pictured; Portland Square).
Speaking on the launch of the new system, PCC Caroline Henry said: “This is the first time that surveillance cameras have been developed in this way, and we are proud to be making it happen here in Nottinghamshire.
“Effectively, this technology allows women to make a live, video-recorded SOS call to CCTV control room staff and police staff if they find themselves in danger or under threat. This could potentially prevent a serious crime and ensure women and girls receive the urgent help they need from police officers. Activating the help point will immediately enable operators to risk assess the scene via CCTV to secure evidence, determine what help is needed, dispatch the appropriate police response and provide reassurance to the caller.
“Already, there is significant interest from other forces in these new cameras, and we are excited to lead the way once again. We want to reassure all women and girls living in Nottinghamshire that we take their safety extremely seriously and will spare no effort in ensuring they can live their lives confidently and without fear.”
Ashfield councillor Helen-Ann Smith is Cabinet Member for Community Safety. She said: “It is fantastic that Ashfield will be the first place to have this state-of-the-art equipment. I was blown away seeing it in action today. These will have a significant impact on the safety of women and girls in Sutton.
“This is just one of the many projects we are delivering as part of the Safer Streets initiative, including improved CCTV street lighting and trailing a safety app. We will continue to work closely with partners to deliver initiatives that reassure residents that Sutton is a safe place to live, work and visit.”
And Daniel del Soldato, Head of Communications at WCCTV Ltd, said: “WCCTV is incredibly proud to have directly collaborated with Nottinghamshire Police to create a unique solution to make streets safer for the most vulnerable.
“As a UK based manufacturer, we were able to build a bespoke solution that addressed one of the most pressing needs for police forces across the UK. We have seen significant interest in the solution from other forces and will be rolling these out over the next few months.”
About the Help Point
As fitted in Ashfield, the install is of a WCCTV re-deployable dome camera, audio address and a two-way control panel allows a person in distress to connect with a local police control room. Pushing a ‘panic button’ on the Help Point initiates an response. The police can remotely access the cameras, issue audio warnings and speak to those in distress while gathering video evidence. Visit www.wcctv.co.uk.
Caroline Henry, with Ashfield District Council, Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire County Council, received £550,000 from the third round of the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund last year. As with other successful bids, the stress was on the safety of women and girls after widespread outcry after the murder of Sarah Everard and other offences against women.
In a separate bid, the PCC, Bassetlaw District Council, Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire County Council secured a further grant of £550,000 to fund work in Worksop South.
As in other counties, the projects have seen more CCTV, improved street lighting, high-visibility police patrols and education and awareness training for young people and others to challenge misogyny and the attitudes that underpin violence. The ‘refuge’ cameras will be evaluated over 12 months. Visit: https://nottinghamshire.pcc.police.uk/Our-Work/Safer-Streets/Safer-Streets.aspx.
Meanwhile, Nottingham BID (Business Improvement District) has set up a Safe Space Pledge – the first in the UK to be included as part of the Best Bar None accreditation scheme – as unveiled at an event in Nottingham attended by Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales.