£4m to tackle antisocial behaviour and violence against women in South West

The funding has been awarded by the Home Office to make the region's streets safer Credit: ITV News

Millions of pounds have been allocated to tackle antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls in the South West.

The announcement by the Home Office means £2 million from the Safer Streets Fund is being given to Gloucestershire, while £1.7 million will be awarded to Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Somerset and North Somerset Councils have been granted £317,000, targeting resources at four locations – Taunton, Bridgwater, Weston-super-Mare and Yeovil.

Devon and Cornwall's Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez says the money will go towards projects in Truro, Barnstaple and Torquay.

The additional funding will lead to an increased police presence, plans for more CCTV and extra private security patrols to build confidence among those who want to enjoy bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Alison Hernandez said: “Antisocial behaviour is one of our communities’ top priorities. It blights lives, reduces the appeal of our town centres and can escalate to the point where serious crimes occur.

"In partnership with our business community a great deal of work will take place to make these towns safer and more appealing to people who want to enjoy them without feeling threatened.

"The Violence Against Women and Girls agenda has started a national conversation about this issue and it is right that we put in place resources to tackle those legitimate fears."

In Gloucestershire, the additional £2 million will help fund six PCSOs to deal with antisocial behaviour as well as educational projects.

The money will also go towards other initiatives including a new fleet of drones, enhanced forensic testing and new drug testing machines to tackle spiking.

Chris Nelson, Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I am delighted that all three of our bids were successful, bringing over £2 million of Government money into Gloucestershire.

“These bids are full of progressive and engaging ideas to help prevent crime; as well as operational support and equipment which will allow officers to work more efficiently.”

Somerset County Council and North Somerset Council have secured £317,694 from the Home Office Safer Streets Fund.

The money will go towards education and training programs as well as 18 additional CCTV cameras across the local authority's area.

Somerset County Council’s Cllr Adam Dance said: “This significant extra funding will enable us to continue to tackle sexual harassment and violence against women and girls across our county.

"The Safer Streets campaign is so important – inappropriate words or actions against women and girls are simply not acceptable.

"We want perpetrators to think about how their behaviour makes people feel, and we are committed through this campaign to help reduce Violence Against Women and Girls and improve safety for women and girls in public places across Somerset.”

Cllr Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, said: “The Safer Streets project across North Somerset and Somerset is hugely important.

"It presents an opportunity to work together and achieve positive outcomes in tackling Violence Against Women and Girls crimes across the area.

"I’m delighted that additional funding has been secured to enable this invaluable work to continue for another year. With Somerset, we are fully committed to changing behaviour and increasing the feelings of safety for women and girls.”