Southampton’s joint effort to reduce crime in the city centre at night time has been recognised nationally. The city has scooped a Home Office award for the most innovative crime-fighting project in England and Wales.
Southampton’s bid was shortlisted from hundreds and showcased partnership initiatives like the ICE (In Case of Emergency) bus, Yellow Card scheme, Taxi Marshals and Street Pastors, which have dramatically reduced violent crime and admissions to emergency departments over the last two years.
The award was presented to Southampton’s Safe City Partnership, which includes the council and the police, by Professor Nick Tilley from the Home Office in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon (Dec 13).
Cllr Royston Smith, leader of the council, said: “I am very proud that we have won the prestigious Tilley Award from the Home Office.
“This puts Southampton on the map as a role model in tackling crime and setting the standards in effective partnership working.
“This award acknowledges the concerted effort all Safe City partners give every night in the city centre to continue to keep residents and visitors safe in Southampton.”
The award comes after the incentives have led to a 22 per cent reduction in accident and emergency admissions for assault during peak times at night, combined with a reduction in violent offences in the city.
Speaking at yesterday's ceremony, Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice Nick Herbert praised the winner, as well as the second and third placed entries, saying: “Competition this year was incredibly high and I am delighted to present today’s much deserved accolades to three fantastic teams.
“The Tilley Awards are recognised across the world for highlighting the very best of British crime-fighting. These projects show what can be achieved when communities are empowered to come up with local solutions to local problems.
“When police, councils, charities and the public work together they can make the real, positive changes local communities want to see.”
Inspector Phil Bates from Hampshire Constabulary, who was also at the presentation yesterday, added: “We are delighted to have won this award and see Southampton’s Safe City Partnership recognised.
“We have all been working hard together to reduce violent crime in the city and it’s had an effect. We have extra police out every Friday and Saturday in the city centre but more officers isn’t the only answer. Working together with others we have been able to tackle the issue from many different angles to bring about these improvements.”
“We will continue to work together and strive to help reduce crime.”
Besides the honour of the award, the first prize comes with £2000 which will be used for a crime prevention project in 2012.