Devon and Cornwall Police launch new StreetSafe tool to tackle violence, abuse and intimidation against women and girls

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Devon and Cornwall Police launch new StreetSafe tool to tackle violence, abuse and intimidation against women and girls

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Assistant Chief Constable Julie Fielding has released a statement following the sentencing of the serving police officer convicted of murdering of Sarah Everard and encouraged members of the public to use their new reporting tool. 

Launch of StreetSafe tool

Devon and & Cornwall Police is encouraging residents to use the new StreetSafe online reporting tool. The tool enables anyone to mark public places on a map where they feel unsafe for any reason such as anti-social behaviour or environmental issues (e.g. lighting).

Reporting is anonymous, and while anyone can use it, women and girls are particularly being encouraged to use the online platform. The online tool was launched by the Home Office and Police Digital Service and is being piloted across England and Wales until the end of November. You can read more about it and access it from the link below.

StreetSafe online tool

Assistant Chief Constable Julie Fielding said: ‘The StreetSafe tool is one of a number of ways in which we can target the areas which do not feel safe. We are working with local partners to review the reports and will work together to make safer places, targeting hotspots and using practical ways to increase safety.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said:

"The tragic cases of Sarah Everard and locally Lorraine Cox have thrust the issue of safety in public spaces to the front of the national agenda. 

Everyone has the right to feel safe in public, wherever they are and whatever time of day they choose to go out. Sadly too many people, both men and women, still feel unsafe and threatened.

Information gathered through initiatives like the StreetSafe tool really us make informed decisions to improve our public spaces and deliver better services."

Assistant Chief Constable Julie Fielding

Assistant Chief Constable Julie Fielding said: "The thoughts of all of our officers and staff are with the family and loved ones of Sarah Everard. We understand the depth of feeling and concern following the tragic murder of Sarah and the details that emerged of the actions of the offender, a police officer, have saddened and sickened us all.

"We recognise that alongside immediate actions for improvement, long term, sustainable change is needed; we are working on this and will be sharing our plans more widely in the coming weeks. We will build on our work with partners, communities, groups and independent advisors, ensuring that we hear and act upon the views and concerns of victims of crime. We will widen this conversation as everyone has a role to play.

"The national plan to tackle violence, abuse and intimidation against women and girls will be published shortly by the National Police Chief’s Council, led by Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth. I will be leading on the response of Devon & Cornwall Police.

"We are already reviewing the quality of our investigations, increasing the ways in which we tackle perpetrators’ behaviours directly and ensuring that all of our staff recognise and respond to domestic abuse, sexual offences and crimes such as coercive control, with a focus on the victim and tackling perpetrator behaviour. We will build on our work with key partners across the criminal justice, community safety and specialist support services for improvement.

"There will be a number of national enquiries and reviews upon the issues raised by the conviction of Couzens including inspections of vetting and counter-corruption procedures in policing across England and Wales. This will include the ability of all forces to detect and deal with predatory and misogynistic behaviour. Our work to learn from this tragic case has already started.  

"Whilst the majority of our officers and staff come to work every day to help and support victims and bring perpetrators to justice, this case has shone a light on the issue of those who target women and girls. We actively challenge inappropriate and concerning behaviour but there is more to do.

"Here and now, our officers will proactively offer to carry out a verification check for anyone who feels concerned for their safety during an interaction with police. Any member of the public can also request that a verification check be carried out and we will respond immediately.

"Having a positive relationship with our communities is at the heart of our policing approach in Devon and Cornwall; we will continue to do our job to the best of our ability, whilst working openly through the issues that this case has raised. We will continue to make improvements. It is my commitment that we will be sensitive and understanding to how recent events have impacted on all those that we serve and particularly women and girls.

"Devon & Cornwall Police work closely with the Office and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall to ensure that services to victims are professional and accessible. We will be using feedback from victims and service providers to improve our services.

"Together we can make the difference."

Julie Fielding
Assistant Chief Constable

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