Making Merseyside’s streets safer – Police Commissioner launches survey seeking views of women and girls about personal safety

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has today launched a survey to find out about how we can make the streets of Merseyside feel safer for women and girls.

The public consultation has been announced by Emily Spurrell to better understand the concerns of women across the region.  In our parks, on public transport, walking home from a night out in the city centre – the survey aims to gain a greater understanding of how safe women and girls feel when going about their daily lives across Merseyside, day and at night.

It asks if they have experienced sexual harassment and abuse, what makes them feel unsafe and what can be done to make them feel safer.

The lived experiences collected through the survey will be used to inform the activities and projects the Police Commissioner runs, including how she bids for cash from a number of Home Office funds, including Safer Streets 3 and a new pot focused on improving women’s safety in the night time economy. The findings will help to ensure the funding is targeted in the most effective way.

The Safer Streets Merseyside survey is live at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SaferStreetsMerseyside/

The consultation is the first stage in the Police Commissioner’s campaign to work with all community safety and criminal justice partners to eradicate Violence against Women and Girls.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “All women and girls should feel safe in their own neighbourhood, in their local park, on public transport and while enjoying our region’s nightlife.

“Sadly that still isn’t the case and there are still too many places and situations where women and girls feel uncomfortable, scared and vulnerable when out and about. This is not an isolated or personal issue. It is an issue for all of us.

“Tackling violence against women and girls is one of my priorities and one of the first steps in the process of eradicating it is to listen to women and girls in our community to better understand how and when they feel intimidated and frightened and what we can do to make public spaces safer for them.

“While this survey won’t provide all the answers or be a quick fix, it is the start of a much wider conversation with women about the work I will undertake with partners across the region to reduce the violence, abuse and harassment women and girls face day in and day out and bring about long-lasting change.”

Emily added: “The tragic case of Sarah Everard in London has highlighted the unacceptable level of intimidation, harassment and fear too many women still experience on our streets. This has to stop.

“I am determined to make real, tangible improvements to make our region safer and respond to the fears of women and girls. I want as many women as possible to take this opportunity to speak out and tell me about their personal experiences and give me any suggestions they have about how we could make changes that will make Merseyside’s streets feel safer for them.

“By doing so, they will help me  to use the funds we can access from central government in the most targeted, effective way to have maximum impact. This may be practical fixes, such as better CCTV and street lighting or crime prevention initiatives, but it could also focus on cultural and attitudinal change through education.”

Merseyside Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley, said: “Merseyside Police is committed to working with our communities and partners to tackle violence against women and girls.

“On a daily basis we, continue to support women who are subjected to sexual harassment, or physical, or violent abuse, so we can identify offenders and make the streets safer for women who live and work in our communities.

“We as a society need to take a strong stance against such attacks and we completely understand the concerns of women who feel vulnerable. Women should be empowered to live their lives without fear of sexual objectification, harassment, or physical and mental abuse, but we can only achieve that by working together.

“If a woman does fall victim to sexual violence we and our partners will investigate and treat those who have been preyed upon with dignity and respect.

“We, and our partners, completely understand that recent events have brought the issue of serious violence against women and girls to the fore and we want to ensure women feel safe.

“We have a number of meetings throughout the year which look at the different aspects of violence against women and girls and this last week we brought those meetings together across one day to bring a real focus to the work we are doing; to examine the impact the ongoing work is having; and to identify where there is room for improvement and learning so together we can ensure we give confidence to the public and deliver an effective service for women, girls and men who are survivors of serious or sexual violence. 

“I believe this survey by the Police Commissioner will help us to better understand where and when women are most vulnerable and how we and our partners, can reduce violence against women and girls.”

The findings will be used to inform the Police Commissioner’s bid into the Safer Streets 3 bid, which has to be submitted by 15th July and additional funds offering money to make public places safer. They will also be shared with community safety and criminal justice partners to inform work they are doing to make our region’s streets safer.

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and is open until Friday 9th July 2021.

To take part please visit www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SaferStreetsMerseyside/

We recognise that this survey might trigger emotional discomfort and understand that thinking about these topics can be difficult.

If you feel you would benefit from support following this survey, a full list of all specialist services in Merseyside can be found at www.victimcaremerseyside.org