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Safer Streets Funding – Street lights in York

Information provided

Our Ref: NY7333 - 25 November 2021


I write in connection with your request for information that was received by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire (OPFCC) on 29 October 2021.

I note you seek access to the following information:  

In the discussion over safer streets the former commissioner indicated I recall that he had invested in 200 extra street lights for York. 

Can you confirm

  1. The veracity of this statement
  2. A schedule of streets and incidents in York streets that was used to identify the streets at risk and the schedule of agreed works
  3. The budget
  4. The date of start and completion of the works. 

I am interested particularly as the dark unkempt Lane beside St Lawrence church that connects Hull road to the many supermarkets and local amenities that students and citizens use is grim. Also the Civic Trust is now opining on these matters which may give misleading information .

Extent and Result of Searches to Locate Information 

To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted within the OPFCC.

Because of the way the bid was developed in partnership with City of York Council and Scarborough Borough Council, I can confirm that the OPFCC partially holds the information you have requested.


I have today decided to disclose the located information to you. I will also undertake to get the remaining information you have requested from City of York Council outside of this FOI request.

The data that was used in assessing the risk within York and which identified the target streets/routes for remedy for this bid was all sexual and violent crimes recorded by North Yorkshire Police where the victim was a woman and that occurred in a public space in the financial years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. I enclose the following information from our bid in relation to York which explains our process:

We reviewed North Yorkshire Police data on VAWG crimes [as defined by the Home Office in their guidance to bidders] where the victim was a woman and which occurred in a public space for the three years to March 2020. York and Scarborough have the highest incidence of VAWG crimes in North Yorkshire with rates of 7.5 and 11 per 1000 women respectively, an average of 768 and 611 crimes per year respectively over these 3 years. Over these three years there has also been a steady increase in VAWG crimes in these areas, with a total increase across the period of 30% and 32% respectively.

Analysis was then conducted on:

  • those areas most reported by the public as feeling unsafe;
  • police data to identify crime clusters and patterns with a particular focus on attacks by strangers and on key routes from the city centre to residential areas
  • council data on complaints lodged and agency identified hotspots.

The following hot spots, which account for almost 10% of all VAWG crimes in York, were identified for further analysis and an Environmental Visual Audit (EVA) conducted to assess potential remedy.

In York:

  • Bull Lane, Lawrence Lane, Bar Lane, The Crescent – 32 attacks in these four locations in last 3 years. All used as short cuts between thoroughfares and residential streets with poor street lighting and unkempt trees/undergrowth.
  • Hob Moor underpass and Barbara Grove footbridge – shortcuts between residential areas and the city centre with poor lighting. Few but more serious attacks, particularly Hob Moor which is a large open space.
  • Fulford Road, Blossom Street/Holgate Road/The Mount, Hull Road, Monkgate/Heworth Green, Lowther Street, and Bootham/Water End/Bootham Row – high volume of crimes but associated with ‘honeypots’ (takeaway shops, taxi ranks) where good lighting and CCTV is already present. However more could be done with businesses to improve community care for vulnerable women.

The OPFCC won a total of £306,802 of funding. In response to the problems identified in the areas of York listed above, the following work and funding has been agreed with City of York Council:

Tree pruning £5,000 EVA shows 4 areas where overgrown tree foliage blocks the street lighting reducing visibility and increasing risk
Improve street lighting £99,500 EVA shows 6 areas with poor lighting in streets, walkways and tunnels where improvements could improve the safety of residents
Taxi wrapping of 40 vehicles £116,000 Community groups identified benefit in making the appearance of licensed taxis clearer and create a greater confidence to use this over other options

In addition, as part of the scheme the OPFCC is commissioning Safer Space training for businesses from IDAS at a total cost of £20,000. CYC have places for 100 businesses from the target areas to take this training.

Work has already commenced on these aspects and all work will be completed by the end of March 2022 as this is the end of the funding window set by the Home Office.

We are unclear when or where the Commissioner made the statement to which you refer. Because of the nature of the way in which the bid was constructed with our partners, CYC only provided us with the costings of the work identified within the EVA. Upgrades to lighting will be a mix of new posts where extra lights are required and new LED lamps where better, not more, light is required. As such our Office does not hold the exact information on how many extra streetlights there will be for York, but we can confirm that a value of £99,500 has been identified to be spent on lighting in York. We apologise if there has been any miscommunication.

To avoid you having to submit a separate FOI to CYC, I will undertake to ascertain and communicate to you the exact number of extra lights and total number of lighting upgrades represented by this figure outside of this FOI response. The individual who has the information I require is on leave until 13 December.

I hope that it is welcome news that Lawrence Lane, which I note you are particularly concerned about, is listed as one of the target areas for improvement.