Public places that cause concern for women and girls in Cumbria are receiving renewed focus from police as officers promise the ‘relentless pursuit’ of perpetrators of violence against women and girls.

Officers have heard the views of more than 2,000 people who took part in an online survey on the issue of violence against women and girls and they have promised to put measures in place to make the streets safer.

The survey found that the most frequent reason given for feeling unsafe was groups of people hanging around.

Women and girls were also most likely to feel unsafe at night - and while out in public and nearly three in four respondents had experienced inappropriate behaviour or language.

“Our action plan in Cumbria Police looks to rebuild trust and confidence, it looks to create safer spaces for women and girls, and it looks at the relentless pursuit of perpetrators,” said Detective Inspector Matt Belshaw, Cumbria Police’s dedicated detective inspector overseeing work on violence against women and girls.

“Violence against women and girls is a national issue and we in Cumbria are looking at violence in much wider terms than physical offences.

“We're looking at particularly male behaviours towards women and girls and how we can improve on that.”

The survey has identified particular places where women and girls feel most vulnerable and these include Hammonds Pond, Carlisle, The Line in Workington and Penrith Town Centre.

“There's a number of locations which have come up time and time again in the survey,” said DI Belshaw.

“And from our understanding of where the issues are, we've been able to secure some safer sreets funding from the government and we’re working with councils and other partners to improve the environment.

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“This is a societal issue, so it's not only the police that need to respond to it, it's the police with partners.

“So, women and girls highlight to us issues where perhaps there's poor street lighting or areas which are not covered by CCTV or groups of youths hanging around in particular areas and these are all things that cause a fear of violence.

So yes, as police, we can respond with resources, but we need to work with partners in terms of funding, better lighting, better CCTV, but overall better male behaviour towards women and girls.”