Police Launch New 'Safe Space' Welfare Unit In City Centre, Wakefield
Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Police in Wakefield are launching a new ‘Safe Space’ initiative in partnership with the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Wakefield District Council and third sector partners.
The Safe Space is a welfare unit which will be located in Westgate, at the centre of the night-time economy.
From 8pm on Friday, 16 September the Safe Space opened to members of the public, primarily for those who are feeling vulnerable whilst out in the city. The welfare unit will be open from 8pm to 4am every Friday and Saturday night.
The initiative, which has been funded through the Mayoral led Safer Streets Fund 4 for the next 12 months, aims to offer reassurance to the public through expert advice and support from a trained police officer. The officers will also be equipped to deal with any ongoing criminal investigations.
Other facilities within the unit include tea and coffee, blankets, phone chargers and first aid equipment.
The officers within the Safe Space will be working alongside the existing night-time economy police. They will also be working in partnership with the Night Marshalls and Street Angels, who can provide early intervention support to those who need it.
Sergeant Graeme Dent of Wakefield District said:
“This Safe Space has been set up as part of our commitment under the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy to ensure that women and girls in West Yorkshire not only are safe but, that they also feel safe.
“Violent, sexist, or abusive behaviour towards women and girls will not be tolerated in Wakefield and we want to create a culture where men support this ethos and play their part in changing behaviours.
“We want everyone to be able to safely enjoy the varied nightlife that Wakefield has to offer. The Safe Space will not be exclusive and if anyone feels unsafe or needs assistance from police or other agencies, we want them to know that this is a safe place that they can go to.”
West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe OBE commented:
“It is fabulous to see the funding secured by our Mayor Tracy Brabin, being translated into tangible measures such as this facility.
“The Mayor pledged to place the safety of women and girls at the heart of her police and crime plan and this yet another indicator of the swift progress we are making.
“It is crucial that our night-time economy remains a safe space for all, and this latest initiative sends out a clear message of our partnership ambitions.”
Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Poverty and Health added:
“Wakefield has a vibrant night-time economy and ensuring the safety of women and girls and vulnerable people in general is a key priority for the Council and the Police.
“The ‘Safe Space’ initiative will improve public safety and make sure that people feel safe and secure whilst enjoying the wonderful hospitality our district has to offer, by knowing that help is there immediately if they need it.”