Safer Nights Charter needs resident's input to be fit for purpose
I have listened, and continue to hear resident’s concerns when they tell me that they feel significantly less safe at night than they do during the day and the reasonings for this will vary from person to person.
That’s why my office is working with Swindon Borough Council, Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Police to better understand the practical steps we can take as a collective to make public spaces at night safer for all.
Only by working with residents and late-night establishments will we be able to effectively make public spaces at night safer for all and that’s why I’m asking for resident’s feedback to my Safer Nights survey, the feeling of being safe is different for everyone and I want to hear from as many people as possible.
For some it will be better street lighting and improved CCTV coverage whilst others may need more visible policing to feel safe at night.
These responses will then be used to help shape a county-wide Safer Nights Charter and organisations that operate in the late-night economy, such as bars, pubs, clubs, taxis companies and the many others will be encouraged to voluntarily sign up to the charter with the aim of working together to make a positive, proactive change.
But this isn’t just about people being safe when socialising at night, it’s about ensuring people get home safely at night, regardless of whether they’re travelling from work, exercising, or have indeed been socialising with friends in bars, clubs, or pubs.
Nearly £1m of Home Office funding secured by Swindon Borough Council and my office, is already going some way to improve measures that make people feel safer such as improved street lighting, CCTV and security gates. But we must maintain momentum to make a real difference in our communities.
The Safer Nights Charter is inspired by the pledges created for the Mayor of London’s Women’s Night Safety Charter, launched in 2018, and one recently launched in Exeter.
Whilst women in our county are 1.4 times more likely to report feeling quite or very unsafe at night compared to men, and the Safer Nights Charter will have elements focusing on reducing violence against women and girls, it is inclusive of all those who use public spaces at night.