Neighbourhood Watch Northamptonshire backs rollout of StreetSafe tipline used by individuals to report areas where they feel unsafe

The service will help to paint a clearer picture of where crime could occur

Sunday, 24th October 2021, 8:45 am
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 3:41 pm

Northamptonshire's Neighbourhood Watch group is backing the rollout of the Home Office's new StreetSafe pilot service.

The service works by registering people's reports of feeling unsafe in certain areas, be it because of graffiti, noise or even being followed, and then mapping those out to paint a clearer picture of trouble spots around Britain.

Alan Earl, the chairman of Northamptonshire's Neighbourhood watch group, says the StreetSafe service will be used alongside existing networks that detect and prevent crimes. By being able to report anonymously, he hopes this will reduce people's fears of making such reports.

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Reporting places of unease will help police watch out for trouble.

He said: "Neighbourhood Watch works with the police as one of our key partners, our aim is to reduce crime and the fear of it, by providing crime prevention information, but also help to build stronger and safer communities.

"We encourage regular contact between our scheme coordinators, and the Local Neighbourhood Policing Team, to report and discuss concerns that the community have in respect to local crime.

"If used in connection with other community engagement options like Crimestoppers, and reporting directly, this [pilot scheme] will capture areas of concerns within communities that could lead to crime.

"Many people are afraid to report issues. So communities need to be able to report their concerns, then the appropriate actions can be taken."

Deborah Waller, another member of the Neighbourhood Watch group says the app is a step in the right direction but more still needs to be done.

She said: "We believe that StreetSafe will be a useful tool, as part of a much wider approach nationally and locally to make streets safer, in that it will enable the public to assist police and councils to identify areas and premises where people do not feel safe and what it is about the area that affects feelings of safety.

"However, the app on its own will not make the streets safer.

"Environmental improvements and targeted activity must be made, by police, councils and other community safety partners, to address valid safety concerns raised about public spaces and behaviours that are identified.

"In addition, a programme of activity needs to be implemented at a national and local level by government and public authorities to highlight and address the culture and behaviours that adversely impact on people’s safety and their feelings of safety.

"We would advise the police to keep the communication channels open and regularly feedback to the public about what they and their partners are doing in response to the information they receive through the service.

"Likewise, the public should give as much information as they can so authorities can respond effectively."

Neighbourhood Watch also stressed that StreetSafe is not to be used to report crimes or incidents, only to report areas where individuals feel unsafe.