Ashford residents join bystander training sessionsPublished: 23/02/2022
Police officers in Ashford have assisted in training local residents and businesses in how to help victims of crime, vulnerable people and the emergency services.
Around 180 people signed up for online 'active bystander' training with former police officer Graham Goulden in sessions organised by the town's Community Safety Unit (CSU) and Ashford Borough Council.
The training, which ran across six sessions starting in the week beginning 24 January 2022, is one of a number of measures created through Safer Streets funding received by the town's CSU.
Following its success, similar training may now be offered to those living in other areas of the county.
Many of the participants work or volunteer in the town centre and the training is designed to help them understand what third parties can do if they witness incidents; from calling emergency services to offering support to vulnerable people and victims.
PC Katie Lane, of Ashford CSU, said: "Kent Police urges anyone who witnesses or is a victim of violence or abuse in the town centre to contact us and report it.
"We are determined to ensure the town is a safe place for everyone to visit in daytime, evening and late at night. This training was provided to help local residents and workers feel emboldened to challenge any behaviour they believe to be wrong, strictly only when it is safe to do so, and feel confident when reporting incidents to us.
"Possible responses may take a variety of forms; from standing to one side to observe and call the emergency services, through to, where safe, approaching a victim and asking if they require help.
"I am very pleased with the number of people who took part and hope the training helps them identify wrongdoing, not just in public spaces, but also in the workplace or at home if necessary. Ashford has a wonderful community and when members of that community work together to support one another, the town benefits greatly."
As well as the training, the Safer Streets funding will be used for further community safety initiatives in Ashford in 2022.
Cllr Peter Feacey, portfolio holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing said: "I am so pleased to see such a substantial number of people taking up this training and the resulting positive impact it will have. The knowledge they have gained will empower them to know what they can safely do if they witness an incident and to support vulnerable members of our community.
"This training is just one part of the Safer Streets funded project for our borough, with increased CCTV in our town centre, educational sessions in schools, a digital app to show safe routes and more. I look forward to seeing all of these strands coming together over the next few weeks and months, helping all our visitors feel safe within our town centre spaces."
Article courtesy of Kent Police