North East police forces address women's safety in the region in the wake of Sarah Everard case

A number of North East Police forces have carried out surveys looking into women safety.

Cleveland, Durham, Northumbria Police forces asked women in the region whether they felt safe where they lived and what officers could do to make them feel more secure.

Surveys were carried out following a government announcement of a new round of 'Safer Streets' funding following the death of Sarah Everard.

Police and Crime Commissioners can apply for a share of £25m from the Home Office to try and improve safety in public spaces.


Cleveland Police

The survey carried out on Teesside found that most women feel unsafe in town centres after dark and more than a third have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape.

The survey was carried out by the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Steve Turner's office.

In total, 1,206 took part in the survey, which was limited to people who identify as female.

Stockton and Middlesbrough town centres were the most commonly mentioned locations where women felt unsafe, followed by Redcar town centre, Hartlepool and Billingham.

Wolf whistling was the most commonly reporter form of harassment against women. Others included up-skirting, revenge porn, indecent exposure, unwanted attention from drivers when out exercising, men refusing to leave women alone on nights out.

The full Cleveland Police survey can be read here.


Durham Constabulary

Durham constabulary asked for women and girls to share their experiences as part of the force's 'Call It Out' survey.

The survey was carried out during April and May to listen to the concerns of women and girls across the force area and understand how safe they feel.

Of the 1,300 responses received, the majority of women said they have experienced some form of inappropriate behaviour that made them feel unsafe.

Only 4% of incidents had been reported to the police because, victims felt, such inappropriate behaviour was something women experienced throughout their lives.

Durham Constabulary as found that the time of day was also a factor in responses.

Chief Inspector Martin added: “That’s why we carried out the survey – to enable women and girls in our community to have their say on their personal experiences, to tell us how safe they feel and what the police and our partners could do better."

She added: “With the night time economy due to return to full swing in the next few weeks with the expected lifting of the last Covid-19 restrictions, police and partners want to ensure that women both are safe and feel safe in our towns and villages and will continue to work together on this issue. 


Northumbria Police

The survey in the Northumbria Police force area found that nearly half of people feel unsafe at night.

The survey, asked people of the North East to share their experiences and views about what makes them feel uncomfortable or even frightened when they are out and about, day or night.

Among feedback during the survey were concerns such as being 'too uncomfortable to catch the bus home but too worried to take the walk through the park.'

Findings of the survey show that across the region, in all environments, people feel much less safe when it gets dark.

At night time, 42% of those who responded said they felt ‘unsafe or very unsafe’, compared, reassuringly, to just 11% during the day.