Thursday, June 2, 2016

News: Young people's Rotherham town centre safety fears remain

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Figures have improved but young people responding to a lifestyle survey have again stressed that they don't feel safe in Rotherham town centre.

The Borough Wide Lifestyle Survey has been carried out since 2006 and this year saw 3,110 pupils take part from 13 schools. It is considered a valuable tool by the Council, helping to provide an idea of what young people understand and can enable the council to tailor services towards young people. Issues covered include food and drink, education, sexual health, bullying and safety.

The results showed that young people visiting Rotherham town centre has reduced. Respondents who said they visited Rotherham town centre regularly (at least once a week), was up to 40% in 2014 from 34% in 2013. For 2015, the figure has gone down to 31%.

The survey shows that the main reason that young people go into the town centre is for shopping (58%) with other reasons to attend a football match at New York Stadium and to meet friends.

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In 2014 for the first time, pupils were specifically asked about feeling safe in Rotherham town centre, the Interchange and train station.

Only 10% of pupils in 2014 said they usually feel safe in Rotherham town centre. 9% said they feel safe at the bus station and 7% at the train station.

For 2015, 16% of pupils said they usually feel safe in Rotherham town centre. 15% said they feel safe at the bus station and 8% at the train station.

A report on the survey to be presented to councillors states: "There has been a positive increase in the number of pupils saying they feel safe in Rotherham town centre locations. Y10 pupils are more likely to feel safe in these locations. Those 2,612 who said they did not feel safe in town centre locations were asked to say why they didn't feel safe. The three main reasons are being approached by strangers (24%), gang fear (16%) and lack of visible security in these locations (11%)."

The recently approved draft capital strategy from Rotherham Council included an ambition to invest in "Improvements to the Transport Interchange, to address current condition and public safety issues. The aim is to create a new, brighter, safer environment and address some of the issues around CSE in and around the existing Interchange."

Based on the findings of the surveys, The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) updated information on their websites and put in place reporting mechanisms.

Personal, Health and Social Education (PHSE) sessions have been run with colleagues from the SYPTE around feeling safe.

Rotherham Council has recently released its overall vision for Rotherham to be a child-centred borough and for the council to be seen as a benchmark for other local authorities.

Images: SYPTE

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