How vital new Newcastle United technology at St. James’ Park will change fan experience

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The help pounts link directly to Newcastle City Council’s control room and an emergency response can be summoned immediately.

Newcastle United has been praised for facilitating the installation of vital new technology at St. James' Park as part of a region-wide scheme to help women feel safe in public spaces.

As well as St. James' Park, Leazes Park and six parks across the North East have had a new help point installed. The technology has been funded through Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness’ Safer Parks initiative which aims to improve women’s safety and to deliver solutions that would address concerns raised by local women.

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The help points links directly to Newcastle City Council’s control room and its 24/7 live CCTV. It means that an emergency response can be summoned immediately by the simple press of a button.

The new technology has been introduced by the council, Urban Green and the Police Commissioner’s office who have come together with the aim of reassuring park users and deterring potential perpetrators from committing unacceptable behaviours.

Newcastle United has also been praised for supporting the initiative, enabling a technological installation at St James’ Park to help with the CCTV and help point transmissions.

Following extensive research, Kim McGuinness unveiled a host of plans to create safer environments for women in the region and pledged more than £2m to make public spaces safer.

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As well as wanting to see more police patrols, volunteers and wardens, work has been underway in our parks to make physical improvements such as improved sightlines across vegetation and a review of lighting within the park has been undertaken.

There have also been social action ‘reclaim our parks’ events happening across the region and plans are currently underway to roll out behaviour change interventions - aimed particularly at men and boys - which would ‘challenge the behaviour of individuals that make women feel unsafe’.

The help points are popping up in public spaces across the North EastThe help points are popping up in public spaces across the North East
The help points are popping up in public spaces across the North East

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “As a woman, I know, and I understand the fears and concerns we all have when we pop our running shoes on or walk home through the park when it gets dark. It shouldn’t be like that but that’s the world we live in. If there are things we can do to improve people’s safety and make parks feel more comfortable, we must do them.

“Leazes is a popular park right in the heart of our city and I don’t want anything to stand in people’s way from getting out there and enjoying it. This help point shows we have listened, and we are acting on women’s concerns and suggestions. The help point is just one example of a range of solutions being rolled out to reassure people of the help that’s available to them.

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“Sadly, there is only so far Government funding will go towards our Safer Parks plans. The more we do to create safer, inclusive environments and change harmful attitudes and behaviours, the better, and I will keep on with the fight for more funding and more positive change.”