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Pioneering training package for taxi and PHV drivers in Northamptonshire shortlisted for award

A groundbreaking training package designed to enhance the safety of women on nights out, aimed at all taxi and private hire drivers in Northamptonshire, has been named as a finalist for an international award.

The package, which includes an online tutorial, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Best Night-Time Economy Initiative category at the Music Cities Awards.

The training, currently being implemented in North and West Northamptonshire Council areas, aims to equip drivers with the ability to identify signs that women may be in danger and to take appropriate action. While already playing a vital role in safeguarding vulnerable individuals, the training package seeks to formalise good practices and provide comprehensive support to drivers.

This concerted effort to improve safety is part of a larger program initiated to enhance the safety and wellbeing of women and girls, especially in public spaces and during nighttime. The funding for the taxi training package and the broader initiatives has largely been provided through the Home Office Safer Streets Fund, following a successful bid by the Northamptonshire Office of the Police, Fire, and Crime Commissioner.

Now, this progressive training package has garnered international recognition and secured a place in the finals of the highly acclaimed Music Cities Awards. The esteemed competition acknowledges remarkable development in cities and places worldwide, covering economic, social, environmental, and cultural aspects. In the Best Night-Time Economy Initiative category, the Northamptonshire training package will be competing against entries from Bogota and Dallas. The winners will be announced at a prestigious ceremony scheduled to take place in Huntsville, Alabama, USA on 18 October 2023.

The training programme comprises three succinct yet impactful videos accompanied by a knowledge check, primarily focused on women's safety. The topics covered in the videos include drink spiking, sexual abuse, and domestic abuse. In order to ensure accessibility, the training is available in five languages: English, Turkish, Punjabi, Bengali, and Urdu.

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 formalise the great work they already do, and we welcome the news this innovate programme has been recognised on a global stage.”

Stephen Mold, Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “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.”


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