National praise for safety idea

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A SAFETY scheme has won national praise.

Durham County Council’s Total Home Safety Initiative has won high commendations in a prestigious award scheme.

Beating five other finalists, the initiative received the commendations for Public Protection Achievement of the Year honour at the MJ Achievement Awards 2011.

Launched in January 2010, the initiative enables people with limited income to have home safety and security devices, including intruder alarms, security lighting and door and window locks supplied and fitted free of charge.

More than 4,000 homes in the east Durham, Durham City, and Derwentside areas had equipment fitted through the initiative last year, helping to reduce the number of burglaries by 398 compared to the previous year and the number of domestic fires by 21.

A survey of residents who have benefited found that 93 per cent felt safer and 87 per cent felt more independent.

Coun Lucy Hovvels, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for safer communities, (above) said: “The success of the whole initiative has been phenomenal.

“We were delighted to even be shortlisted, so to be ranked so highly and receive this national commendation is absolutely fantastic – a job well done to everybody involved.”

The initiative is funded by the North East Improvement and Efficiency Partnership, the scheme was launched through the Safe Durham Partnership.

Due to the projects successes, it was extended until the end of June 2011 and is the driving force behind a new initiative that will help communities continue the success of the past.

For more information on home safety and security, visit www.durham.gov.uk/homesecurity