Extra funding for safety measures to protect women along canal path

EXTRA CCTV cameras and signage are to be installed along the Basingstoke Canal footpath as part of an effort by police to improve safety for women and girls who have been subjected to a spate of indecent exposure incidents over the past two years.

The work, which will also include the removal of foliage and graffiti to improve visibility and the purchase of four e-bikes for community and police patrols, is being paid for by £175,000 in government funding secured by Lisa Townsend, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey.

Lisa Townsend joins an officer on patrol along the Basingstoke Canal footpath

Mrs Townsend said: “Ensuring we improve safety for women and girls in Surrey is one of my key priorities so I am delighted we have secured this crucial funding for the project in Woking.

“During my first week in office back in May, I joined the local policing team along the Basingstoke Canal to see first-hand the challenges they have.

“Our police teams have been working really hard with our local partners. I hope this extra funding will go a long way to support that work.”

The money will also help to support Canal Watch, made up of local volunteers who patrol the footpath. This initiative was set up by local police under the leadership of Sergeant Ed Lyons.

Sergeant Lyons said: “We have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to ensure that the streets of Woking are safe for everyone, including working with our partner agencies by introducing a range of measures to prevent further offences from taking place, as well as carrying out numerous enquiries to identify the offenders and ensure they are brought to justice.

“This funding will enhance the work we are already doing and go a long way to making our local communities a safer place to be.”

Debbie Harlow, Woking Borough Council’s portfolio holder for community safety, said: “This crucial funding will go a long way in providing additional security measures along the Basingstoke Canal towpath, in addition to supporting the ongoing Canal Watch initiative.”

The money is part of the latest round of the Home Office’s Safer Streets funding with around £23.5 million shared across England and Wales for projects to improve safety for women and girls in local communities.

It follows previous Safer Streets projects in Spelthorne and Tandridge where funding helped to improve security and reduce anti-social behaviour in Stanwell and tackle burglary offences in Godstone and Bletchingley.

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