Ipswich win safer street funding - but calls to target town centre
- Credit: Google Maps/Sarah Lucy Brown/IBC/Ella Wilkinson
Further improvements need to be made to protect women in Ipswich town centre say campaigners after the town successfully won a £124,000 grant from the government.
Ipswich Borough Council plans to apply for further safer streets funding after securing £124,391 to make Norwich Road and surrounding areas safer.
The grant has been earmarked for CCTV and improving spaces like paths and underground walkways as well as funding for groups that help women.
Laura Polley from Kesgrave and leading Suffolk’s Reclaim The Streets, agreed that Norwich Road is an issue for crime but there should be more focus in the town centre.
Ms Polley added: "Women are being attacked and assaulted in the town centre.
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"I think the bid is a scapegoat to get work done on Norwich Road, which has other crime."
She also said it cannot be forgotten Wayne Couzens, who was found guilty of murdering Sarah Everard, was "not a stranger" but a police officer, which made it hard for Ms Everard, who was handcuffed, to resist.
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Ms Polley urged that more needs to stop "men killing women".
Ipswich borough councillor Alasdair Ross, the portfolio holder for community protection, said the "tragic death" of Miss Everard highlighted the safety and wellbeing of women and children, prompting the council to apply for funding.
Mr Ross had wanted the funding for all the main roads leaving Ipswich town centre and the Waterfront, which he says already has a high police presence and lots of CCTV.
He said Wherstead Road, Woodbridge Road and St Helen's Street also needs funding but to get the bid had to be narrowed to a smaller area.
He added that Norwich Road, with its takeaways and close proximity to the town centre, has been viewed by women as a place where they feel "unsafe" and get "inappropriate comments".
"Most will go in a taxi after going out in the town centre but some will walk Norwich Road late at night," he said. "The women feel unsafe in this area and have to go past groups of individuals saying inappropriate comments."
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: "I hope this significant investment and our particular focus on improving women and girls’ perceptions of safety in public places will also help improve confidence in the area."
IBC will also apply for the next round of safer streets funding.