Businesses, sports centres and places of education across Kirklees have signed up to become safe places for those at risk.   

Kirklees Police has said it will do all it can to promote its new Safe Zone initiative with Safer Kirklees and charity Barnardo’s to create safe spaces where women and girls, children and other vulnerable people can go to seek advice, support and help.

Training has now been delivered to more than 70 staff incorporating Barnardo’s education about child sexual exploitation as well as child criminal exploitation and preventing violence against women and girls, to allow the new zones to be established.

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. 

They may wish to use the Ask Angela scheme and present a card to staff asking them to call somebody on their behalf.

Special stickers are now being placed in Safe Zone areas including major and local retailers, Huddersfield’s bus and railway stations, Kirklees College, the University of Huddersfield and Huddersfield BID offices.

The scheme was rolled out during the recent national Safeguarding week which saw Kirklees police officers join with colleagues to help prevent crime and support those at risk.

Initiatives within Kirklees included special training being offered to residents to help them spot the signs of Cuckooing in which vulnerable people are targeted by criminals for exploitation.

Supt Helen Brear

Supt Helen Brear, of Kirklees Police, said: “The launch of the Safe Zone scheme is another step forwards with our partners in Kirklees to help us prevent crime, and make residents who need our help safer.

“All participating places are displaying the new Safe Zone stickers and I think it will be a real comfort to those who feel at risk to know there are places they can pop into on the street if they need to for immediate support while authorities can be contacted.

“These new spaces are a real physical symbol of what we can all do as communities to support those at risk. They are also part of our ongoing work to reduce violence against women and girls.

“I want to thank partners for their support and input into the scheme, which we will continue to promote and widen.”

Clr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for learning, aspiration and communities at Kirklees Council, added: “We all hope that the Safe Zones are not needed but should anyone need to use them, please know they are there for you.

“Similar to our Ask for Angela campaign that we have rolled out in venues across Kirklees, we want our residents and visitors to know that their safety is our priority and we have mechanisms in place to provide safe spaces for everyone.

“Thank you to the organisations and businesses, and their staff, who have volunteered to take part in this safety scheme. We greatly appreciate your support.”