Half a million pledged to make two popular Northampton parks safer for communities

Measures will include better lighting and ANPR cameras

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:23 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:26 pm

A large sum of money has been pledged to help make two popular Northampton parks safer and to reduce crime in the areas.

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) will receive more than £500,000 from The Safer Streets Funding.

The funds will be used to improve safety in and around The Racecourse and Beckets Park, including new CCTV networks and lighting and perimeter fencing.

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Beckets Park and The Racecourse will benefit from the funding.

The funding has been granted after a successful bid from WNC in partnership with the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund, which provides funding for interventions to improve the safety of public spaces for all.

This round of funding has a focus on reducing violence against women and girls (VAWG) and increasing women and girls’ feelings of safety in public spaces.

Councillor David Smith, WNC's Cabinet Member for community safety, engagement and regulatory services, said: “Women and girls are disproportionately affected by crimes like harassment in public places. This needs to change.

"We will use this money to help make people feel safer and more secure when using these spaces.

“We know young people, including women regularly use these parks for recreation and ‘through routes’ to nearby student accommodation so it is important that they feel safe.

“We have improved the lighting at the Racecourse in recent years, but more needs to be done to reduce violence levels."

The plans also include the installation of Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras in The Racecourse car park and improved signage and floor markings that are visible at night in Beckets Park.

Cllr Smith added: “As well as environmental changes we want to use this money to help change behaviours through education and awareness programmes – we need to prevent people from committing these offences in the first place."

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold continued: “We’ve already seen the big difference that Safer Streets funding has provided in Northamptonshire in the first two rounds of funding – which has seen an increase in CCTV, installation of alley gates and thousands of people receiving home security products across the county.

“There is a real need to tackle violent crime - with a special focus on violence against women and girls who may feel less safe and confident, and we are looking forward to working with West Northamptonshire Council to ensure the areas around The Racecourse and Beckets Park are as safe as they can be for the local community.”

The bid supports existing activity by Northamptonshire Police, targeting predatory behaviour (Operation Kayak) and will focus on interventions that primarily reduce stalking, harassment and robbery.