DI Upile Mtitimila: leading the fight to eliminate violence against women and girls in Warrington
Friday 9 December 2022
Detective Inspector Upile Mtitimila joined Cheshire Police in 2016 via the second ever cohort of Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme. Since joining the force, he has progressed from constable to inspector rank, become Co-chair of Cheshire Constabulary’s Multicultural Network and become the Force Operational Lead for Safer Streets Warrington.
In this role, he has played a key part in the force’s Safer Streets campaign, focused on eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), and worked with his force colleagues and community partners to improve safety across Warrington.
DI Upile Mtitimila, Cheshire Constabulary:
“I have recently worked with my policing colleagues and community partners in Warrington to roll out Cheshire Constabulary’s ‘Safer Streets’ campaign. The message has been clear: violence against women and girls (VAWG) will not be tolerated. The focus has very much been on the perpetrators of VAWG and not on the victims; it is violent men that should feel targeted, not women and girls. It goes beyond just responding to crimes, it’s about turning the tables on violent perpetrators and preventing VAWG.
“Alongside community partners and Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer, we ran a huge campaign with posters, news articles and digital boards across Warrington, and supported conferences and events in the town.
“We worked with local schools and community partners Lime Culture and Purple Leaf to develop bespoke packages, to educate young people on consent, sexual violence, and ‘bystander intervention’ (which is about individuals or groups being willing to actively address situations they deem unacceptable). Similarly, we distributed learning materials and resources to local businesses and partners to educate community bodies on how to recognise predatory and harmful behaviours and signpost them to opportunities for intervention. This included pushing messaging in the transport space, offering resources like personal attack alarms and drink drug tests, and emphasising the collective responsibility for creating safer spaces and challenging inappropriate and harmful behaviour.
“In order to improve safety across Warrington, we worked with the council to improve street lighting and introduce extra CCTV in key areas – and quickly saw an improvement to the night-time economy in better-lit areas. Another focus was to promote safe travel routes and raise awareness of the high standards that local taxis must meet, such as having CCTV and a button to trigger audio recordings, which other services may not have.
“As a product of the campaign, we worked with Warrington Youth Zone to regenerate the underpass with new paint, lighting, and flowers, and also supported litter-picking initiatives in the town centre to improve its overall aesthetic.
“Police Now’s mission is to transform communities, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, and increase public confidence in the police service. It sounds like a mammoth task, and it is, but we need this kind of ambition and passion in the police – and with support from the government, partner policing bodies, and community organisations, we have taken a step closer to achieving this in Warrington, which was named the UK’s safest place to live in a study done earlier this year*. That doesn’t mean we’ll get complacent; there’s still a long way to go in the collective fight against VAWG and it remains a key focus for Cheshire Constabulary and policing nationally.”
*Warrington was determined the ‘UK’s safest place to live’ earlier this year, through research done by the security training provider Get Licensed – which ranked the country’s 50 largest towns and cities by measuring factors including the number of overall crimes as well as robberies, sexual offences and reports of weapons compared to its population.
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