A brand-new help button in Darlington town centre will give people access to the council's CCTV control room 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Anybody who needs help or feels vulnerable can press the button on the lamp post outside Number One Bar on Blackwellgate and get connected to Darlington council's CCTV control room staff.

The control room staff can then arrange help and liaise with police and civic enforcement officers.

Funding for the new button has come from the Darlington Safer Streets partnership, a joint venture between Darlington Council, Durham Constabulary and the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner.

The partnership runs a number of initiatives to improve safety and the feeling of safety in the town centre, particularly among women and girls.

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Last year the Safer Streets partnership opened Number Forty on Skinnergate between 9pm and 3am every Friday and Saturday night to help anybody who feels vulnerable, unwell or has been a victim of crime. Trained security staff and volunteers are at hand to offer help to those who need it regardless of the situation.

Mike Renton, the council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, said: “This is another way we can help to ensure that people visiting Darlington town centre continue to feel safe.

“The CCTV control room team already work closely with the police and use their network of cameras to keep an eye on the town centre. This button is another way that people can call for help or reassurance when they need it.

Along with initiatives like Number Forty on Skinnergate, it is a way to make people feel safe whilst they are enjoying a night out in the town centre.”

The Northern Echo:

Temporary chief inspector Dean Haythornthwaite, from Durham Constabulary, said: “This new help point is just one of the many positive changes we have made through the Safer Streets partnership to help make Darlington a safer place to live, work, and visit. 

“It offers a new way of contacting support for anyone who finds themselves in a vulnerable or threatening situation in the town centre, whatever the time of day or night.”

Joy Allen, Durham Police and crime commissioner said: “This is another excellent addition to the Safer Streets partnership and another step in the right direction of ensuring everyone throughout the community feels reassured and supported.

The Northern Echo: The button connects users directly to Darlington's CCTV control room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.The button connects users directly to Darlington's CCTV control room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Image: The Northern Echo / Sarah Caldecott)

“It is vital we work with and support the CCTV control room to ensure all areas of the Darlington town centre are continuously monitored for all types of crime and anti-social behaviour and to ensure a timely and targeted response.

"This button will add an extra layer of protection for members of the community and reassure them help is at hand, 24/7 365 days a year."

She added: “As part of my police and crime plan, I pledged to maximise funding opportunities to improve the safety and crime levels in our area. The Safer Streets fund has been a vital strand of this.

"The improvements that we have made as a partnership across Darlington are valuable in creating a community that is safe, secure and more resilient to crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour.”


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If the button proves to be a success there are plans to install other devices elsewhere in the town to provide reassurance for people leaving the town centre after a night out.

Safer Streets is a UK-wide Government initiative that has seen County Durham and Darlington receive over £ 1.5m over the last 18 months to make the region safer through a variety of projects.