L1 Bus Station will receive added safety measures. Image: @lpoolcouncil/twitter
A grant of £270,000 has been secured from the government’s Safer Streets Fund to improve women’s feeling of security on the Liverpool City Region transport network.
Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) launched a consultation in June to ask how the streets of Merseyside could be made to feel safer for women and girls.
More than 1,500 women participated in the survey, which showed 54% of women felt unsafe using public transport in Merseyside at night and nearly 42% had concerns about using it in the day.
News that PCC Emily Spurrell has secured the funding comes a week after the high-profile sentencing of Sarah Everard’s killer in London and two weeks after a man was charged with the shocking murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa.
What will the funding be used for?
The new funding will be used to improve CCTV coverage particularly at city centre bus stations in Liverpool One, Queens Square and Sir Thomas Street.
It will also create new ‘help points’ connected to the CCTV monitoring control room and improve links with emergency services.
Travel centres at each of the bus stations will also become safe spaces for anyone who feels vulnerable.
Bus drivers, frontline bus station staff and taxi drivers will receive ‘bystander training’ to better understand and know how to prevent sexual violence.
A text message service, which can be used to report concerns and help to identify offenders, is to be launched.
The PPC said the money will also fund a new educational resource for up to 70 schools across Liverpool raising awareness of sexual harassment and misogyny.
A mobile police unit will be set up in hotspot areas and at times when women feel most unsafe.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service will also support the campaign by directing fire engines back from emergencies along any area identified as having a problem to provide additional reassurance.
Reaction to the funding and project
Merseyside PCC, Emily Spurrell, said: “With this funding we will be able to put some significant, long-term improvements in place relatively quickly that I hope will make a genuine difference.
“We want women to feel safe using the transport network and ensure if any incident does occur that causes them concern that they can report it quickly and easily and there is someone on hand who is trained to respond effectively.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The murder of Sarah Everard sent shockwaves throughout the country and sparked an important national debate about the safety of women and girls in public places.
“Whether using public transport at night, going out on a run or just walking home – too often women feel they are unable to do things men take for granted due to the risk to their safety.
“In this country there is an epidemic of violence against women, with men the main perpetrators. Two women a week are killed by their partners, one in four experience domestic abuse, and countless women feel unsafe simply walking down the street.
“I’ll be working with the Merseyside Police, the PCC and others to make public transport – and our streets – the safest possible place for women.”
Merseyside Police’s Superintendent Diane Pownall said: “We welcome this investment, which will enable us to do even more work to protect women and girls travelling to and from Liverpool.
“We recognise that this is an issue that requires a number of organisations working together, and I look forward to linking up more with all involved.”