Streetsafe bus to be 'beacon' for vulnerable people in night-time economy

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 June 2015

Weston at night (Picture by Aleks Nocny).

Weston at night (Picture by Aleks Nocny).

(c) copyright

A 'STREETSAFE' bus will be returning to Weston to help police, community wardens and the ambulance service look after vulnerable people during the night-time economy.

The bus, which is been launched by North Somerset Council, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and South Western Ambulance Service, was piloted last year.

Police, the council’s community wardens and paramedics will all be able to use the bus, which will be painted purple.

It is part of an ongoing effort to secure a Purple Flag, which is a national award recognising towns that are excellent at managing the evening and night-time economy.

A Streetsafe bus ran in Weston several years ago, but the scheme stopped when the bus was no longer usable.

Weston Inspector Sharon Bennett said: “The bus is the culmination of joint partnership work between us, North Somerset and the ambulance service.

“We get together regularly as a multi-agency group and it was decided to bring the bus back.”

A trial run was held during some of Weston’s busiest nights last year, including the music event South West Live and the carnival.

The bus cost £16,000, and the funding has come from a number of sources.

Insp Bennett said: “The idea is the bus acts as a hub for the agencies to meet to go to tackle issues with the night-time economy.

“We can all help each other out and know the objectives.

“It is a beacon for vulnerable people to get help and advice and it’s also about stopping people becoming victims.”

The bus will be fitted with plug sockets and mobile phone chargers, and a private area for the ambulance service to use.

Insp Bennett said: “It is one simple place for people to come to get the help they need to keep them safe.

“People can come if they are much too drunk because there are people on the bus who will be able to contact other agencies.

“There are facilities to get people warm and dry, or they can come and phone a relative or charge their phone if it has died.

“It is one part of trying to get the Purple Flag.

“We want people to come in and enjoy and experience a more diverse night time economy.

“We want people to enjoy all that 
Weston has to offer. If people feel safe about coming into the town centre, then more people will do so, which is what we want.”

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