Safety bus earns national recognition for work safeguarding vulnerable women and girls
A special bus service which patrols Cardiff’s streets at night to help vulnerable people get home safely has received national recognition for its work in tackling violence against women and girls.
The Student Safety Bus is a regional winner in the Safe Spaces category of the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing’s recognition event for police officers, staff and volunteers who are working to help safeguard vulnerable women and girls.
More than 140 entries were received and judged jointly by police forces and representatives from charities including SafeLives and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
Since September 2021, the Cardiff Safety Bus has safeguarded more than 2,850 vulnerable people on the streets of Cardiff.
Two buses run every night throughout the Freshers period to identify lone, vulnerable individuals and help get them home safely.
The buses continue to run on the busiest nights.
Student liaison officer PC Michael Neate, from South Wales Police, said: “The buses help an average of 20 people each night. Some are highly intoxicated, and their personal safety is at obvious risk.
“This initiative enables us to identify those in vulnerable circumstances and most at need and get them safely back to their homes or the Alcohol Treatment Centre.”
The Student Safety Bus is operated by officers and volunteers to help keep the student and wider community safe.
The vehicle containing essential medical supplies including a defibrillator and patrols the night-time economy areas within Cardiff and large events.
Superintendent Bella Rees, Head of Operations, Cardiff and Vale BCU, South Wales Police, added: “Cardiff has an excellent history of partnership working which helps ensure our night-time economy is safe as well as vibrant and welcoming.
“The Student Safety Bus is one example of the work being done in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan to tackle violence against women and girls.
“This national recognition by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing’ is fantastic news for everyone involved and well-deserved recognition for an invaluable service provided by our dedicated officers and volunteers.”
All winning entries of the Policing Violence Against Women and Girls’ Recognition Event had to demonstrate how they built trust and confidence, that their approach was victim-centred, and they had to show impact, including how they were pursuing perpetrators.
Judges were impressed with the effectiveness of many of the entries, giving particular praise to those officers, staff and volunteers who listened to victims and survivors, and then shaped their activity accordingly.
Other winners include a campaign to tackle misogynistic and sexist behaviour internally (Avon and Somerset Police), reducing violent crime committed against sex workers (Cleveland Police), educational sessions for schools (West Midlands Police) and a survivor of rape who has helped Lincolnshire Police by telling her story of the criminal justice system in order to support other victims.
DCC Maggie Blyth, National Police Chiefs’ Council violence against women and girls’ coordinator, said: “Thank you to everyone who works in policing and whose focus is on making society safer for women and girls.
“Having regional and national judging panels made up of experts from inside and outside policing have really helped us to focus on winners who have demonstrated both an understanding of what victims want and expect, but also on activity that is sustainable. It’s only by modelling this excellent work that we can hope to achieve consistency for women and girls across our police forces.
“Entries also showed how we are pursuing perpetrators and showing them that there is nowhere to hide. We all want policing to achieve more and although we still have much to do, I am heartened by the quality of work that is underway.”
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