Panic alarms handed out to keep workers safe in Hull city centre on dark winter nights
PANIC alarms are being handed to city centre workers to keep them safe on dark winter nights.
Hull Business Improvement District (Bid) is aiming to improve safety in the area after investing in 500 alarms.
The devices are available to workers via their employers as part of a scheme introduced to offer protection, especially to women.
The alarms were bought at reduced cost by Hull Bid as a result of its partnership with the Hull Neighbourhood Network.
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Kathryn Shillito, city centre manager, said: "Although the city centre is safer than ever, we know from our discussions with businesses that some people feel slightly vulnerable walking from work after dark.
"Since Hull Bid began we have been going into shops and talking to staff and business owners about their perception of the city.
"One of the concerns that came to our attention was that some of the women in particular were a little bit worried about walking to the multi-story car parks at night after work.
"We felt the alarms would be appreciated – they offer a bit more peace of mind and protection."
The Neighbourhood Network is a charitable trust comprising residents' groups, traders and those interested in community safety.
Matthew Wright, Hull Neighbourhood Network Co-ordinator, said: "This is our first foray into the retail of security goods.
"We were very pleased to help Hull Bid because equipment like this is not easily available from anywhere else and it does make a difference to personal safety.
"Eventually, I would like there to be a whole retail arm and shop for the Neighbourhood Network where people can buy products to improve their personal safety.
"It's a far-off idea at the moment but this is a step forward.
"It's all about giving people confidence in the city centre and making them feel empowered.
"Although crime is down across Hull, there are, unfortunately, still incidents where a panic alarm could be used."
Mr Wright said it would also help police with witnesses as passers-by would be alerted and be able to phone for help.
Mark Andrews, support officer for Hull Bid, said he has delivered about 400 of the alarms to businesses in the Old Town and city centre.
He said: "Everyone has told me they think it's such a good idea and they are very grateful to receive them.
"One business took about 40 for its employees and I think it will make a real difference to the community."
Richard Swaine, operations partner at Lockings Solicitors in Lowgate, said the company has been given about 50 of the devices for workers.
He said: "This will no doubt benefit the city as a whole.
"Although our car park is quite near the office, people do have to walk through the city centre after dark.
"It will give the employees extra peace of mind and this kind of initiative is great from Hull Bid. It should be supported by everyone."