The online tutorial is currently being rolled out in both North and West Northamptonshire Council areas – to help taxi and private hire drivers spot signs that women may be in danger.
Drivers already play a big role in informally coming to the help of revellers who may find themselves vulnerable. The training aims to consolidate good practice and provide formal support.
The project is part of a package of measures intended to improve the safety of women and girls, particularly in public spaces and at night. The taxi training package and the wider programme of work has been funded largely through the Home Office Safer Streets Fund after a successful bid by the Northamptonshire Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
Now the training package has been recognised on the global stage, making the finals of the Music Cities Awards – a competition designed to acknowledge economic, social, environmental and cultural development in cities and places all around the world.
It will compete against entries from Bogota and Dallas in the Best Night-Time Economy Initiative category with the winners announced at a ceremony in Huntsville, Alabama, USA on October 18, 2023.
Cllr David Brackenbury, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive Member for Growth and Regeneration, said: “What absolutely fantastic news that this project has been shortlisted for a global award – it’s great for the county.
“People should be able to enjoy a night out and feel completely safe but we know that unfortunately this isn’t always the case. I’d like to thank our drivers for the assistance that they already give – this training will help consolidate the good practice already out there provide a positive step forward so that revellers can feel more confident that someone is looking out for them.”
Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Regulatory Services at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “Drivers across the county play a pivotal role in keeping people safe, and do a fantastic job looking out for the signs someone might be in distress. This training formalises the great work they already do, and we welcome the news this innovate programme has been recognised on a global stage.”
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold thanked both unitary authorities for their involvement in implementing the training package. “Taxi drivers are in a unique position to spot if someone is vulnerable or at risk, so we wanted to make sure that they understand the signs and know what to do.
“Being nominated for this award is the icing on the cake, however for me the true measure of success will be that our taxi and private hire drivers are part of the network ensuring people are safer on a night out in Northamptonshire.”
The training package will be disseminated to all new and existing drivers and compromises three short videos and a knowledge check for drivers to complete, primarily around women’s safety.
The three videos cover drink spiking, sexual abuse and domestic abuse with training available in five languages: English, Turkish, Punjabi, Bengali and Urdu.Over time, the intention is to factor this into both NNC and WNC licensing conditions with the aim that it will eventually be mandatory for drivers to complete.