Councillors and Community Protection officers at the Mobile Safe Space launch event. Image credit: Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service

A new initiative to offer help to anyone feeling vulnerable or distressed during a night out has been launched in Nottingham.

The Mobile Safe Space project sees fire engines and a van parked around the city to provide support and a safe haven for women and girls.

Following the success of Nottingham’s Safe Space Pledge, made by Nottingham Business Improvement District and the Consent Coalition, this project is the next step in the Home Office’s Safer Streets scheme.

The scheme saw Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry secure a £3 million budget to combat antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls in Nottinghamshire – £750,000 of which is to be spent in Nottingham alone.

“HIGHER LEVELS OF INCIDENTS… SEXUAL CRIME, ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR”

Dam Palmer, Station Manager, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Starting last week (February 13), the Nottingham City Council Community Protection van has been parked on Derby road most evenings evenings to provide a place of refuge on one of Nottingham’s most populated roads at night.

Distinguished by the Safe Space livery, the vehicles are staffed by Community Protection Officers in visible uniform.

Two fire engines are also wrapped with the new Safe Space graphic and have been driving through the city to promote the message of tackling violence against women. These Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service vehicles have been parking on the streets during evenings too – one in the city centre’s London Road and one in Stockhill Lane, Basford.

Dan Palmer, Station Manager of the Prevention department at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, has been heavily involved in the Mobile Safe Space initiative and is confident in the training of his staff.

Firefighters that have been trained in protecting women and girls from violence, and dealing with vulnerable people at night, are approachable at the fire engines. They are working in partnership with Nottinghamshire Police, who will be parked up throughout the city centre.

It’s not just the council and emergency services promoting the message. Dan added, “This is an initiative across the city completely. The pubs, bars, clubs as well, so it’s a joint up approach.

“It’s a collective message across the city to say that Nottingham is tough on sexual violence and that we are trying to eradicate it.”

Mobile Safe Space van and fire engine showcasing the new graphic at Market Square, Nottingham.

Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, added, “The Safe Space Pledge is a fantastic scheme, which makes the safety of women and girls a high priority in Nottingham. The initiative provides bespoke training for night-time economy staff, enabling them to have the skills to intervene and challenge perpetrators safely, whilst having the confidence to support vulnerable people.”

“Today we’ve got a big bold message on a fire engine and a Community Protection van. This is all about reassuring messages and making sure everyone knows that violence against women and girls will not be tolerated in Nottingham,” she added.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe. We know that women and girls can often feel more vulnerable than men in public and I hope this scheme can play a big part in making Nottingham a place where everyone can have a safe and enjoyable night out.”