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Surrey’s canal sexual exposures project wins Tilley Award

The project involved a partnership approach to tackling frequent reports of indecent exposure.

The Basingstoke canal sexual exposures project was launched in response to multiple reports of indecent exposure and suspicious incidents along a particular stretch of the canal.

Certain geographical factors were helping to facilitate the offences – such as overgrown shrubbery and a lack of CCTV.

Woking’s Safer Neighbourhood team subsequently worked with the local community to cut back the shrubbery, install CCTV and signs to encourage reporting.

There was also an investment of electronic bikes that both officers and members of the canal watch could use to patrol the area.

The canal watch is run by volunteers whose role is to raise issues and concerns with appropriate agencies.

The project has now won the 2021/22 Tilley Award at the National Problem Solving Conference.

Speaking on behalf of the team, PS Ed Lyons previously said: “The Woking Neighbourhood team are really proud of the work around the Basingstoke Canal that has been completed over the last two years. A multi-agency problem solving approach was completed after a series of sexual assaults on the Basingstoke Canal in Woking. After an extensive analysis of the problem, a series of responses were implemented to look at a long-term solution.”

NPCC Problem Solving Lead and conference host, Chief Constable Lauren Poultney of South Yorkshire Police said: “The Basingstoke canal sexual exposures project, like all of the submissions entered to this year’s awards, not only highlights how problem solving is taking place across police and partners but that the knowledge of the SARA (Scanning, analysis, response and assessment) methodology underpinning this approach is developing and becoming more readily used to resolve identified issues.

“We also know that with greater understanding and use of this approach, comes better targeted responses that resolve the root cause of an issue and improve the services we are providing to our communities.”

Other finalists this year included West Yorkshire’s Focused Forensic Marking to Deter and Detect Domestic Abuse and South Yorkshire’s Operation Grow (a partnership operation to target and disrupt those involved in growing and supplying drugs, it was launched in response to frequent power cutes thought to be in part caused by the amount of illegal cannabis set-ups).

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