Safer Streets Round 4 Project
The Strategic Manager (CSU) advised that a detailed written report would be brought to the next meeting in January 2023.
The Strategic Manager (CSU) gave a verbal update to the Committee on the main headlines of the Safer Street Round 4 Project:
· The team worked with a colleague at the Police Crime Commissioners (PCC) office to work on a bid for Home Office funding; the bid was successful and approximately £62K was granted. That was matched by the Council’s own funds. By January 2023 the project should have had more time to develop
· The project included eight new permanent CCTV cameras for the Town Centre.
· The Council were looking at upgrading seventy heritage streetlamps, thirty-seven of which would be funded by the Home Office funding. Planning permission for the lamps was sought and the design had been approved; the work just had to be programmed into the schedule
· The footpath from the Overcliffe to the Thamesway/industrial park area had been left unmaintained for years; the vegetation would be cut back, the fly tipping cleared, lighting improved, and two cameras covering the entry and exit points installed as part of the project
· The team worked closely with the GSAFE radio system; the Council wanted to encourage more businesses to sign up to the scheme but some of the businesses had been hit hard over the pandemic and couldn’t afford to join. To combat that, the project included funds to purchase twenty new radios to give to willing businesses on a free six-month trial. Part of the fund would also be spent to fix the recent issue with radio link where the signal between security staff and Police had been negatively affected
· Included within the bid was a target of twenty ‘safe spaces’ within business premises in the Town Centre; anyone who felt vulnerable could go to one of those ‘safe spaces’ and request the need to use it to staff who would all be trained to deal with any issues. Bystander training would also be given to Council staff and night-time business staff too
· A conference social event was held every year and held discussions around domestic abuse, harassment, stalking, modern slavery and alcohol abuse etc; the event encourages people of all diversities to join in and an event is planned for March
· Two night time economy audits were planned to be completed; the first audit was completed in October 2022 and the second was due to be completed in September 2023. Council officers and a few Members went out in the Town Centre between 17:00pm and the early hours of the next morning on a Friday night in order to see what the Town Centre was like during those hours. A survey was carried out with public and business representatives and further information would be gathered at the next night time audit in 2023
A number of suggestions were raised by the Committee:
· The programme used for installing the heritage streetlamps should also include a programme of planned maintenance instead of just reacting when a streetlamp stopped working
· The Chair of Licensing Committee needed to be contacted prior to the next night time audit so that he was able to attend
· The previous dial in number for the CCTV control room should be reinstated as that would allow businesses that didn’t want to be part of the GSAFE system to still be able to contact the CCTV room and advise them of times and places when criminal activity had occurred
The Strategic Manager (CSU) agreed to the first two suggestions however the Assistant Director (Communities) advised that the old number was likely a by-product of when the CCTV control was based in Gravesend, but it had since relocated. However, the Assistant Director (Communities) agreed to raise the matter with GSAFE.
The Chair thanked the Strategic Manager (CSU) for the detailed update.