Cambridge refuge points offer place of safety to people who feel ‘vulnerable or in potential danger’ at night
Two refuge points have been installed in Cambridge’s market square to give people a place of safety on nights out amid concern about crime and disorder.
The points are connected via intercom and are visible to CCTV operators 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They have been installed in the market square to combat anti-social behaviour (ASB) and disorder, particularly at night, and are due to be operational “very soon”.
Cllr Alice Gilderdale, executive city councillor for community wealth building and community safety, said: “The new refuge points in the market square are part of the work of partners in the Cambridge Community Safety Partnership, and the Purple Flag initiative to promote a safe and vibrant night-time economy and have been funded by the office of the police and crime commissioner (PCC).
“Once they are operational, the refuge points will provide additional security to anyone who feels vulnerable or in potential danger in the city centre.
“They will give people the chance to make contact with a trained CCTV operator 24 hours a day at the touch of a button – who will then be able to provide rapid assistance and advice, point a camera in their direction for extra reassurance, and quickly make contact with local emergency services if necessary.”
Sarah Steggles, of the council’s community safety team, speaking at the authority’s west area committee, said: “The police are also working closely with CCTV colleagues to increase the number of cameras and areas of coverage in the market square in order to increase community safety, particularly for those members of the public who are at increased risk of harm or vulnerable.”
Ms Steggles said the PCC had also provided funding for two new CCTV cameras to be installed in the market square and Market Passage.
“These areas are considered to have high levels of ASB crime and disorder particularly in relation to the night-time economy. And it’s hoped that the increased CCTV in these areas will act as a deterrent for ASB crime and it will provide live monitoring surveillance that will assist police to locate incidents,” she said.
PCC Darryl Preston added: “Everyone has a right to feel safe when trying to enjoy an evening out. “The refuge points will act as an important point of safety for people visiting market square, providing 24/7 intercom connection to CCTV operatives in the control room for anyone who might find themselves in an emergency or who might feel vulnerable.”