The council is working up a bid with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for £750,000 aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour (ASB) and violence against women and girls in public spaces in Torquay town centre.
If successful, it could mean an increase in CCTV coverage and 24-hour street lighting as well as supporting initiatives in the night-time economy to enhance the safety of women and girls.
The application is due to be submitted by Friday and the council will discover in June if it has been successful.
The council has begun working with partners over recent months looking at improving the Castle Circus area following ongoing concerns about ASB there.
This is a collaboration between the council, Devon and Cornwall Police, the OPCC and wider partners to look at solutions.
Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has made £200,000 available to tackle ASB and drug taking in Torbay and is assisting the bid for additional government funds for the area.
The council has also applied for three years of funding under the Rough Sleeper initiative to address the problem across Torbay.
The council’s outreach team works with rough sleepers to help them off the streets and into accommodation. It also works to prevent homelessness in the first place.
In addition to this, two town centre officers regularly patrol Torquay, Paignton and Brixham town centres. They signpost vulnerable people to help and challenge anti-social behaviour where it’s occurring.
Councillor Christine Carter, Torbay Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate and Community Services, said: “We’re committed to making Torbay a safer and more pleasant place to live, work and visit. We all want to feel safe when we’re walking around.
“We will continue to work with partners to find the best ways to do this, but we also want to hear from members of the public.
“We would encourage people to take part in the survey we’re currently running with the OPCC. This specifically asks people how safe they feel in Torquay town centre.
“The results will help us to determine our priorities for addressing community safety in Torquay.”
Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council, added: “Now that lockdowns have finished and the weather is getting better, people will understandably want to be out and about in our town centres in the evenings more. It’s vital they feel safe, particularly women and girls, which is why we’re applying for this funding.
“If successful, we hope to introduce a number of safety measures, which will sit alongside the partnership work we’re already doing to reduce anti-social behaviour in our town centres.”
Alison Hernandez said: “ASB is one of four priorities identified in my police and crime plan because it impacts so many people.
“It can lead to community tensions and have a significant effect on people’s health, wellbeing and their daily quality of life. The police, local authorities, other agencies and our communities need to work together to find solutions and stop persistent and severe ASB from blighting our communities.
“I have committed to putting funding in place to back these efforts and will continue to draw on resources wherever possible to support this work.”
The Torquay town centre survey has been put together on behalf of Torbay’s Community Safety Partnership, who are keen to ensure their efforts respond to the issues that matter most to people.
As well as shaping future plans and work, the survey results could also influence how the Partnership bids for funds.
Complete the survey here. It is open until Sunday 15 May.
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