Message from Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner

In my newsletter last week, I briefly mentioned the Home Office ‘Enough’ campaign that aims to raise awareness around Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).

This week I want to expand on the work that is happening both nationally and locally, but first, I want to say that over the past few years, I have spoken frequently and unequivocally on this issue.

I have pledged to do all that I can, as Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner, to ensure that this county is the safest in England and Wales – there is no doubt that this means that women of any age must be safe, and feel safe, whether on a night out, walking home or in their own homes.

I would again, like to place on record, is that it is not up to women to find inventive ways to ‘stay safe’. There is a deep attitudinal, behavioural, change that is required across our society. There is a need to address issues around misogyny and respect. That’s why there is a thread in my Police and Crime Plan called ‘fixing the future’ and that is where we will start talking to our young people about respect for themselves and respect for each other.

I welcome the governments VAWG strategy which sets out to make our streets safer for women and girls. The Strategy – which was shaped by over 180,000 consultation responses – will support victims by launching a 24/7 sexual assault helpline, introducing VAWG Transport Champions, introduce revised educational guidelines and bring in a £5 million Safety of Women at Night fund.

The government are also investing £70 million in practical measures to prevent abuse, giving women the freedom to safely enjoy our night-time economy.

Last year, I was pleased to see the success of Project Vigilant in Dorset – from Bournemouth to Weymouth uniformed and plain clothes officers were out and about in high footfall areas to ensure that vulnerable people were not targeted on their night out and this year, I will be lending my support for this initiative to come back to our streets.

I am also delighted to say that last year, my office was instrumental in Dorset receiving government funding under the Safer Streets Fund and the Safety of Women at Night Fund (SWaN) and once again this year, we will be bidding for more funding for Dorset.

I’m determined to ensure that Dorset is at the forefront for change, and so I would ask you to find out more about the ‘Enough’ campaign and maybe keep an eye out for the billboards that will appear over the next couple of weeks across Dorset – you never know, maybe they will spark a conversation that helps tackle VAWG in your community.

David Sidwick
Police and Crime Commissioner