News story

Safer Streets Fund is building confidence in the police

Evaluation of the first round of the Safer Streets Fund shows that this investment is boosting trust in police and making communities feel safer.

Two police officers seen from above

Photo: Getty Images

To date, £120 million has been spent on initiatives such as improving street lighting and home security to cut neighbourhood crime. This follows the government’s commitment to work tirelessly to crack down on antisocial behaviour.

People in communities that have had extra CCTV and street lighting rolled out are less likely to worry about being mugged or robbed, an independent evaluation of the first round of the Safer Streets Fund has found.

The findings also show that the fund is helping to build confidence in the police, with residents in these areas more likely to think their local police are doing a good or excellent job. This reflects the efforts made to make residents aware of the work being done to make them feel more secure such as fitting new locks, video doorbells and alarms.

The Safer Streets Fund was launched in January 2020, and has to date supported 270 projects aiming to cut neighbourhood crime such as theft, burglary, antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls. Police and crime commissioners and local authorities in England and Wales, the British Transport Police and eligible civil society organisations have received £120 million in total across 4 rounds of the fund.

Successful projects include in Humberside where improved communal entrances in flats are helping to prevent drug dealing, and new storage units are stopping bike and motorbike theft.  In Northampton, funding has supported improvements to the security of thousands of homes that were vulnerable to burglary, with alleyway gates installed to prevent an easy escape for offenders.

Other projects across the country have set up Neighbourhood Watch groups, increased CCTV, and introduced wardens to undertake community engagement and sharing crime prevention advice with the public – demonstrating levelling up in action.

Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire, Chris Philp, said:

Our local communities are the beating hearts of the UK, and I want our streets to be safe for everyone to go about their daily lives without fear inflicted on them by criminals.

Increasing public safety in our communities, and restoring people’s confidence in the police and pride in where they live, is an absolute priority.

This funding gives local people the power to make real changes in their area, as well as driving investment in businesses and jobs.

The evaluation shows the positive impact of investing in initiatives to improve local environments, and how this makes people feel safer and more engaged in their communities:

“People have been thrilled to see [the improvements]; it’s made a huge difference. In consultation, people feel unsafe when they’re walking through an area covered in litter and graffiti, and what this has done has helped actually lift the area.”

Round One Project Lead

“What we’re finding is we’re now getting more information about what’s happening in the community… previously we found people weren’t that forthcoming with information. So we are gaining trust.”

Humberside Police

As part of the government’s commitment to drive down crime and improve public safety, the Home Office has to date run 4 rounds of the Safer Streets Fund, which provides funding to communities across England and Wales.

Inspector Richard Mirfin, Humberside Police said:

The safer streets funding has allowed us to work alongside partners and the local community – who all had a real desire to implement positive change across the Westcliff area. It has enabled us to come together to design out crime and increase a sense of community ownership – making the local area safer and stronger.

As part of this initiative, approved security features were added to properties, along with the implementation of innovative design solutions leading to a reduction in antisocial behaviour and a decrease in opportunities for crime to occur. A network of champions from within the local community supported the delivery of wider initiatives increasing the sense of community and pride in the local area.

This initiative supported us in increasing our connection with the local community, providing regular opportunities for a two-way conversation with local residents and businesses about the issues causing them concern and then taking action together. Officers continue to be in regular attendance at the community centre at the heart of Westcliff, where they are on hand to provide advice and reassurance and listen to any concerns alongside our partner agency teams.

Thanks to the safer streets funding we are now further connected with our local community – and our local dedicated neighbourhood policing teams are proud to remain part of that. Designing out crime has opened up these channels of engagement, and by doing that we can continue to invest into our community.

Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Chair Marc Jones, said:

We are pleased to see that the work we do as police and crime commissioners (PCCs) is making a tangible difference in our communities and improving the public’s confidence in policing.

The Safer Streets Fund allows us as PCCs to work with our local partners in areas that are disproportionately affected by neighbourhood and acquisitive crime, investing in preventative approaches to make our communities safer.

We have witnessed firsthand the positive impact these preventative initiatives have had in supporting victims, tackling antisocial behaviour, embedding vital community safety projects and helping to tackle violence against women and girls.

We look forward to continuing this work alongside our partners, preventing crime and making a real difference to the lives of those in our communities.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt, said:

It’s encouraging to see that the work being carried out by forces as part of the safer streets programme and the response to various crimes, such as robbery and theft, is having a positive impact on the public’s view towards policing.

There have been numerous examples of insightful and innovative projects implemented by forces in their areas, which has helped give their local communities more confidence in policing and made them feel safer. This extends across a range of different areas, including violence against women and girls and neighbourhood policing, as well as better engagement and communication by forces with their communities.

We’re hopeful that this positive shift in public perception will continue and evaluations of the other rounds will show similar results.

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, said:

Projects have made a huge impact on local communities. For example, in Hampshire, an expansion in the number of CCTV cameras together with new lighting, new automated gates, new fencing and barriers on either side of a subway and the demolition of an old building to improve sight lines as part of SSR1 resulted in a 45% decrease in antisocial behaviour.

Since its launch, the government has committed £120 million to the Safer Streets Fund to support local areas across England and Wales to introduce initiatives aimed at stopping offences happening in the first place.

Safer Streets Fund Round One allocations:

PCC Area Total grant funding
Avon and Somerset Manor Farm, Bristol £400,000
Bedfordshire Midland Road area, Bedford £464,000
Bedfordshire High Town Area, Luton £448,150
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Arbury/West Chesterton area, Cambridge £546,693
Cheshire Bewsey and Whitecross, Warrington £550,000
Cleveland Newport area, Middlesbrough £479,838
Cleveland Burn Valley area, Hartlepool £444,608
Cleveland South Bank area, Redcar £110,250
Cumbria Barrow-in-Furness area off Salthouse Road, Barrow-in-Furness £436,994
Derbyshire West End, Derby £514,561
Devon and Cornwall North Stonehouse close to Plymouth City Centre £546,781
Dorset Pokesdown, Bournemouth, Dorset £230,985
Dorset Boscombe West, Bournemouth £35,372
Durham Northgate, Darlington £298,918
Durham Horden, County Durham £560,360
Dyfed Powys Glanymor and Tyisha, Carmarthenshire £195,673
Greater Manchester Hilton Park, Leigh £523,933
Greater Manchester Fallowfield, South Manchester £360,080
Hampshire Bargate, Southampton £549,991
Hertfordshire Cheshunt East £310,802
Hertfordshire Cheshunt South and Theobalds £390,976
Humberside Westcliffe Estate, Scunthorpe £650,000
Kent Gillingham North, Medway £111,005
Lancashire Bank Hall & Fulledge/Rose Hill & Burnley Wood, Burnley £549,510
Lancashire Birchgreen, centre of Skelmersdale in West Lancashire £197,500
Leicestershire Westcotes, Narborough Road £441,998
Leicestershire Warwick Way and Dishley Estates £649,999
Leicestershire Braunstone Frith, Leicester £526,309
Lincolnshire West Lindsey, Lincoln £250,780
Merseyside Bidston and St James Ward, Birkenhead £549,700
MOPAC Hendon Park, Barnet £301,162
Norfolk North Central, Norwich £442,001
North Wales Queensway, Wrexham £550,000
North Wales Rhyl West £517,000
North Yorkshire Whitley Ward £548,980
Northamptonshire Castle Ward, Wellingborough £545,700
Northamptonshire St Crispin’s, Northampton £650,000
Northamptonshire All Saints Ward, Kettering £280,000
Nottinghamshire Chatham and Northgate, near Newark town centre £550,000
South Wales Merthyr Tydfil £513,410
South Yorkshire Hexthorpe, Doncaster £649,964
Staffordshire Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent £583,870
Staffordshire Northwood, Stoke-on-Trent £484,263
Surrey Stanwell North £547,791
Sussex PCC Lower St Leonards and Warrior Square, Hastings £545,396
Sussex PCC Eastbourne town, East Sussex £419,970
Thames Valley East Oxford Secure Homes Zone £408,568
Thames Valley Iffley Road area, Oxford £422,948
West Mercia Brookside, Telford £550,000
West Midlands Hillfields, Coventry £549,040
West Yorkshire Fagley, Bradford £549,375
West Yorkshire Gledhow, Leeds £159,936
Total   £23,095,140
Published 11 January 2023