More than 200 ‘safe spaces’ for women, girls and others feeling vulnerable have been set up across Kirklees.
Police have welcomed the success of the Safe Zone scheme which has seen businesses, sports centres and education establishments sign up to help those at risk of harm. There are now 230 safe zones, up from around 100 in February.
Sixteen PSCOs have also had special training to allow them to operate as ambassadors for the zones and ensure they can offer the right support.
Safe Zones continue to operate in Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Mirfield and elsewhere with training provided to those staffing them about how to provide initial support to those who come in to seek help.
All zones promote themselves with the specially designed Safe Zone sticker with staff receiving specialist training from Safe Zone partners who include Kirklees Police, Kirklees Council and the charity Barnardo’s.
Safe Zones are areas where a woman or child could step off the street if they feel they are being followed until the risk has passed, or they might wish to charge their phone and call a friend or parent.
The continuing expansion is just one of a range of safety initiatives operating in Kirklees with a focus on protecting women and girls as well as people who may be particularly vulnerable.
Continuing safeguarding initiatives include the Night Safety Bus which launched in Huddersfield last year.
The bus was introduced specifically to support women using the night-time economy but was made open to anyone who found themselves in a vulnerable position while enjoying a night out in Huddersfield.
The bus and its team of trained staff from Locala and CHART Kirklees were on hand to help people report sexual harassment, provide a safe space if someone is feeling threatened and offer support for those enjoying a night out.
Meanwhile, plans are also being made to provide extra policing support to both returning and new students in September as part of Freshers’ Week at the University of Huddersfield.
Insp Mark Pattinson, of Kirklees Police, said: “The Safe Zone scheme has been a central plank of our work to improve the safety of women and girls and vulnerable people in Kirklees.
“Its continued expansion is really positive news and the rapid increase in spaces is testament to both the hard work of our crime prevention officers and the real enthusiasm among partners to pitch in and support us.
“Feedback from partners has informed us these spaces have been a welcome addition to our town centres and they are a practical contribution towards making women and girls safer as well as a visual symbol of our determination to continue this work.
“I want to thank all involved for their support and input into the scheme, which we continue to develop as part of our wider safety work.”