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law enforcement

PCC urges retailers to sign up to Safe Spaces scheme

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne has called on retailers to sign up to the region’s Safe Space scheme which has been designed to help people who feel unsafe outside their home. 

More than 250 businesses across the country have signed their businesses up as 'Safe Spaces'.

The Safe Space app enables users to send their GPS locations to nominated contacts and make reports directly to the police. It also shows the closest, safest businesses for them to seek refuge in. 

Katy, who is the Association of PCC’s lead on business and retail crime said stores who sign up are given training on how to deal with a vulnerable person if they enter the premises to ensure they are kept safe. 

“There is an accreditation process outlets have to secure before being awarded the status,” she said. 

“We give them trauma-informed training so that staff know what to do if someone comes in from the from the street and says they saw them on the app. It’s all about assessing whether there is immediate risk, and then assessing why they feel at risk and taking the right steps to minimise that, whether it is contacting the police, or helping them contact someone they know to be picked up.” 

“There is a lot of interest from independent businesses who feel as though they have a duty of care for their customers,” she said.

“A lot of independent shops are open 24 hours of the day, so they are ideal locations for women and young girls to seek safety.” 

The Federation of Retail Newsagents’ national president, Narinder Randhawa, said: “Independent retailers have an important place in their local communities, so there is definitely a part we can play in this. 

“The Federation is keen to meet with Katy Bourne to hear details as to how it will work. I will be encouraging members in Sussex to nominate themselves.” 

Katy Bourne has also confirmed her intention is to roll out the app nationwide, so everyone has access to the same opportunity. 

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