Town rangers to be brought in for Shrewsbury

Town rangers will be brought in to tackle yobbish behaviour and new measures will be taken to reduce the risk of river deaths, it has been revealed.

The Quarry in Shrewsbury was the focus of anti-social behaviour at points last year
The Quarry in Shrewsbury was the focus of anti-social behaviour at points last year

The plans are just two of the parts of a £550,000 funding bid awarded to Shropshire from the government's Safer Streets programme.

The bid, from West Mercia Police and the force's crime commissioner John Campion, will fund a host of measures – including Town Rangers specifically for Shrewsbury.

The money will also be used for a number of changes to try and reduce the risk of people drowning in the River Severn – an issue of increasing concern following a series of tragedies in Shrewsbury in the past few months.

The town rangers scheme was proposed earlier this year, and came after a succession of incidents of antisocial behaviour in May and June last year led to independent security teams being employed to patrol The Quarry and the town centre.

Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, which was part of the initial proposals for the scheme, said he was pleased to see that the plan would be going ahead.

He said: "We're delighted that Shropshire has been successful in their Safer Streets bid and are looking forward to working with partners to deliver projects for Shrewsbury.

"We're particularly pleased that funding has been secured for the Shrewsbury Ranger project which will have a significant positive impact on the town centre."

Other areas of focus for the funding will be improving lighting, signs, and throwlines along the River Severn to reduce the risk of drowning.

Another measure will see 'safer routes' signs put in place in an attempt to deter people from taking short-cuts by the river, instead encouraging people to use areas which are well let lit and covered by CCTV or security or rangers patrols.

The plans come as Shropshire Council has commissioned a review of how to improve river safety in Shrewsbury – following the tragic deaths of Nathan Fleetwood and Toby Jones.

Other plans for the funding include new and improved CCTV, as well as security and taxi marshals.

Mr Campion said there would also be a 'targeted educational campaign to reduce violence against women and girl'. and measures to provide 'a safe space for women and girls to share issues and concerns'.

The commissioner said that match funding is being provided from his office, Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Town Council, Shrewsbury Bid, Shrewsbury Watch, West Mercia Police, Shrewsbury Street Pastors, and Shropshire Community Safety Partnership.

Mr Campion said: “This substantial announcement will make a massive difference in our communities, helping people to be safe and feel safe. I am proud to support it with my own investments, as part of my ongoing work to make communities safer.

"The money will be targeted to tackle a range of anti-social behaviours which have a significant and long lasting impact on our communities.

"It is especially pleasing to see particular focuses on drowning prevention in line with my Home and Dry campaign and on violence against women and girls. This will allow a multi-faceted approach which tackles the issue at the root, changing behaviours whilst also putting structured support in for victims."

Chief Constable Pippa Mills said: “We are really pleased that this additional funding has been secured. The crime prevention measures that we’re able to implement as a result of this investment will help us to make real tangible changes to the communities we serve; they will help protect people from harm by preventing crime and help make our villages, towns and cities be and feel safer.

“This is fully supported by our new Prevention Strategy. Most importantly our strategy isn’t just words on a page. Through schemes supported by this funding will enable us to make Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire safer.”

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