Express & Star

Cannock awarded cash to combat anti-social behaviour and threats to women

Almost half a million pounds is set to be spent in Cannock Chase on tackling antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls.

Cannock town centre

Cutting back “problematic shrubbery” is just one of the actions set to be taken in a bid to make two areas of Cannock safer, while street pastors and taxi marshals will be offering assistance to town centre visitors on nights out.

Cannock Chase was awarded £500,000 from the Government’s Safer Streets Five Fund, following a successful bid by the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office. On Thursday (December 14) Cannock Chase Council cabinet members gave the go-ahead for up to £475,000 to be spent on safety measures, with £25,000 going towards a project management fee.

Councillor Jo Elson, Portfolio Leader for Community Wellbeing, said: “We are over the moon to receive £500,000 as part of the Safer Streets 5 Fund to tackle ASB in Cannock South and Cannock West wards; the funding will play a key role in preventing and reducing crime, which has been identified in these areas. CCTV, improved lighting, and environmental improvements will make it more difficult to commit a crime, ensuring our streets and communities feel safer.”

Staffordshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Ben Adams said: “Tackling the anti-social behaviour that can harm our communities is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan, as where these problems are repeated, residents can feel unsafe in their own neighbourhoods. This latest round of funding will help to boost the significant work already underway across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, combining practical measures like CCTV and improved lighting with education to change people’s behaviours – not only making our communities safer, but ensuring they feel safer too.”

A report to Thursday’s cabinet meeting gave further details of how the money will be spent. Gating is set to be installed in two locations in Cannock town centre where trespassers have previously gained access to rooftops.

New lighting will be installed in Cannock Park, while elsewhere in the district there will be an upgrade from sodium to LED “to improve safety and the feelings of safety”. The report added: “Problematic shrubbery which is attracting ASB (antisocial behaviour) drug use and criminality in the town centre will be cut back, and trees will be crown lifted where their current growth is impacting upon natural and CCTV surveillance.

“A combination of fixed and re-deployable cameras will be installed in locations across both wards which are subject to repeat ASB; installation will be focussed where coverage is currently poor or non-existent, and includes areas within Cannock Park. Where cameras currently exist but do not provide adequate image quality or are inflexible, they will be upgraded.

“Street pastors, safe spaces and taxi marshals will be operational in and around the night-time economy and vulnerable locations. Taxi marshals will be based within the town centre, whilst street pastors will have a larger geographical reach across the two wards.

“Educational programmes directed towards behavioural and attitudinal change regarding ASB and VAWG (violence against women and girls) will be delivered to young people. These sessions shall be quality assured, age appropriate and integrated into the Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education curriculum.”

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