Paul Presents | Safer Streets Champion with Councillor Claire Rowles
Safer Streets Champion for West Berkshire
Councillor Claire Rowles, who represents the Hungerford and Kintbury Ward, was appointed as the first Safer Street Champion, at the Annual Council meeting held on 4 May 2021.
As Safer Streets Champion, Cllr Rowles will work with West Berkshire communities to understand their concerns about street harassment and receive suggestions on how the issue should be addressed.
West Berkshire has a low rate of violent and sexual crime which is below the national and regional average, but at the Council, we want people to feel safe, as well as be safe, when they go out.
Cllr Claire Rowles is a qualified lawyer and will bring her understanding of the criminal justice system and police powers to her role as Safer Streets Champion.
Councillor Claire Rowles, said “Street harassment is an issue that many people have experienced, but it does predominantly affect women and I know personally what it is like to be harassed on the street and the anxiety of not being able to walk alone without concern for my safety.
“I am fully committed to working in partnership with the appropriate bodies to ensure that West Berkshire Council continues to be safe place for everyone.”
As the Safer Streets Champion, Cllr Claire Rowles’ responsibilities will include:
Working in partnership with Thames Valley Police to explore a potential bid for Safer Streets grant funding.
Working closely with the Public Protection Partnership, Thames Valley Police, Town Centre managers and others to challenge and rid the District of street harassment.
Working with Laura Farris, MP Newbury, Rt Hon Alok Sharma, MP Reading West and the Rt Hon John Redwood, MP Wokingham, to seek further powers for the Police to be able to take appropriate action where street harassment is witnessed or reported.
Cllr Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said:
“The Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce has said that it will introduce immediate steps to tackle street harassment, following the tragic murder of Sarah Everard and West Berkshire Council welcomes this action.
“By creating the Safer Streets Champion role, we feel that we are working with the Government to address street harassment and provide more reassurance to residents, particularly those who are female, that we are making every effort to ensure that they are safe on our streets.
“Claire sits on the Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel and the Council has every confidence that she will make an exceptional Safer Streets Champion.”
The Safer Streets Champion role will be reviewed each year and appointed at the Annual Meeting of the Council.