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Safer spaces

Our ambition is that no one should feel afraid of walking, running, cycling, or sitting in any part of Islington, regardless of your personal identity, the time of day, or how busy it is.

Our ambition is that no one should feel afraid of walking, running, cycling, or sitting in any part of Islington, regardless of your personal identity, the time of day, or how busy it is.

We know that how safe you feel can be influenced by many factors – including age, gender expression, race, ethnicity, visible religious affiliation, and expression of sexuality, as well as how dark it is and how many people are outside.

In July 2021, we launched the Safer Spaces campaign in Islington. We reached out to every household and business in the borough to ask where our residents feel unsafe when out in the community. We setup a mapping tool where they were able to mark key locations and provide an explanation as to why they didn’t feel safe and what we could do to improve things. Over five months, we received over 2,000 submissions from the consultation.

We have also held Safer Spaces Community Conversations to engage directly with communities and hear how you think the council, police and partners should be working to improve safety and feelings of safety in Islington.

The feedback has been helping us direct our resources to areas where people feel most unsafe, and we are using what we learn to inform our community safety planning for the borough as well as specific projects to address local issues.

This year we held six Community Conversations, reporting back on the actions we have taken since the last consultation. At these meetings, residents raised several key issues; we have provided a response to these issues here.

We hope to use what we have learned from these events to inform action plans across the borough to address the issues identified. We will be building on our existing relationships with residents to generate ideas and support for these plans and communicating the outcomes as widely as we can. 

If you have any questions, please email us.

Use of bicycles

Use of hire bicycles

The council’s Active Travel Team regularly liaises with a number of cycle rental companies to ensure they are managing their network effectively.

All Lime vehicles feature anti-tamper components, fully enclosed wiring, wheel locks, tamper alarms, and enhanced cybersecurity for their cloud operations system. The “Live-Alert” feature also sends an alert and GPS reading back to Lime if an e-bike is moving in a way it shouldn’t to provide an indicator that theft could be in progress.

Lime are aware of a limited issue relating to unlocked bikes being ridden without power. This can happen when the previous user abandoned the bike or did not engage the lock properly.

Bikes that are being used in this condition do not have electric assist (i.e. no power) and are difficult to pedal. These bikes are not damaged and are able to be fully unlocked and ridden (with electric assist) by paying users afterwards. We have been assured that Lime are working on a hardware fix which will resolve the issue.

We understand that the bikes that have previously been tampered with may account for a large proportion of those bikes that are then abandoned in inconsiderate locations and by solving the above issue, we will see a reduction in this.

The Active Travel Team are working with all of the bike rental companies in relation to the inconsiderate parking of rental bikes and is exploring a number of options to prevent this from happening. For example, where we have a problem in a specific location, we can explore implementing a no parking zone which is enforced against the riders.

In the meantime, we encourage residents to report issues to the rental companies via the following numbers:

  • TfL Santander bikes: 0343 222 6666
  • Lime: 0800 808 5223
  • Human Forest: 020 8157 7491
  • Tier: 0808 164 9486

Cycling on the pavement

The Highway Code states: “You must not cycle on a pavement.” The offence of riding a bike on the pavement is punishable by an on-the-spot fine or fixed penalty notice.

We are working with our partners in TfL to address issues in areas where this is a persistent problem, for example  Highbury Corner where we have been able to make the signage more visible. We work with our partners to carry out days of action where police can identify perpetrators handing out Fixed Penalty Notices alongside bike marking events where advice can be given to cyclists to raise awareness.

Bike theft and robberies

We work with a range of partners and the police to raise awareness around bike theft and put measures in place to support people who want to keep their bikes safe.

Bike marking events are advertised on the Community Safety events webpage and are held throughout the year.

Bike marking uses a unique UV code that is individual to your bike this is added to the bike register a database used across the UK to identify lost or stolen bikes. A bike register deters potential thieves, because it shows your bike will be harder to resell and if your bike is stolen and recovered police will be able to use the code to reunite you with your bike.

How does the outcome of the Casey report affect our relationship with the Police?

As a council we are shocked and appalled the content of the Baroness Casey Review. We are very clear that what is needed is for reform, with the Metropolitan Police accepting the recommendations of the report and working towards changing their culture.

The police are key and valued partners in our approach to violence reduction ensuring that we can work together to make Islington Safer.

The council views its role in working with the police as that of a critical friend. We recognise the importance of policing with consent and this can only be achieved if it is underpinned with the trust and confidence of the community. As a critical friend we will do all we can to build this trust and confidence.

However, alongside this we also have a role in holding the police to account in being able to offer a critical appraisal. We have been very clear in identifying where we want to see demonstrable improvements. The council’s Community Safety team and Executive Member for Community Safety have met with the Borough Commander and the new Police Superintendent for Islington identifying a 10- point action plan to improve neighbourhood policing.

These include:

  • Representative and effective ward panels
  • An end to the carousel system with more consistent policing
  • An anti-racist policy
  • A memorandum of understanding between the police and council

We will continue to work closely with the police, meeting with them on all levels daily, weekly and monthly to meet joint strategic and operational aims ensuring that we reduce violence affecting our communities and keep Islington safe. We will continue to listen to our communities and advocate on their behalf to secure the root and branch reform the report demands.

Disability Hate Crime

We are committed to working with community organisations and individual members of our community through the Islington Hate Crime Forum to:

  • Reduce the risk of becoming the victim of hate crime in Islington
  • Improve the identification and reporting of hate crimes
  • Support victims and those who fear being victims of hate crime
  • Challenge the police to ensure quality investigations are carried out and improve the outcomes for victims who report a hate crime

We recognise that hate crime disproportionately affects some groups including people with disabilities and that this often goes unreported. One hate crime is one hate crime to many, and we know we have more work to do. We recently launched the Hate Crime Champion scheme which will allow community members to raise awareness of hate crime and promote reporting of incidents. You can find out more on our Tackling Hate Crime webpage.

Drug use on the streets

Street activity such as aggressive begging, visible use of drugs littering and ASB associated with drug use is very frightening to many people, it can be intimidating and makes residents feel less safe.

We work in partnership with the police, street outreach, drugs services, adult social services and Parkguard, as well as many other services, recognising that this behaviour is symptomatic of substance use dependency, and often involves complex needs including homelessness or a history of homelessness, trauma and unmet mental health needs and mental health issues. Islington has a number of services that work intensely with individuals to support them into the services they need to live less chaotic lives, reduce harm, and move away from antisocial behaviour.

The Street population team coordinate multi-agency meetings to identify individuals who are on the streets, bringing together support networks to share information and agree an action plan to provide effective interventions and intensive support. This meeting also gathers evidence to support and pursue action through the criminal justice system to restrict the behaviour of individuals persistently using drugs in public and causing associated ASB.

We utilise the Police Early Intervention Scheme (EIS) – a stepped approach to deal with people involved in ASB, preventing future criminal behaviour by working with individuals that have received ASB warnings, in partnership with services to offer support to try and enable behaviour change while escalating enforcement measures where appropriate alongside this offer.

Use of e scooters

Use of privately owned electronic / e-scooters

The Metropolitan Police Service and British Transport Police are responsible for enforcing against the illegal use of e-scooters. It is illegal to use privately owned e-scooters on the road or in public spaces. Please report to the police on 101 if you see someone using a privately owned e-scooter on the road or in public spaces.

The Metropolitan Police Service have information about the use of e-scooters on their website. 

Use of rental e-scooter trials

Where a trial rental scheme is running, it's legal to use a rental e-scooter on a public road or cycle lane, provided you have the correct licence and follow road traffic regulations. Anyone using a rental e-scooter on a public road or other public space, has to comply with the relevant road traffic legislation or they face potential prosecution.

To rent an e-scooter you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Hold the correct driving licence (category Q or P/M)
  • Create an account with the rental company
  • E-scooters can only be used in approved areas

If you don't have a licence, or the correct licence, or are riding without insurance you could face a Fixed Penalty notice and:

  • A £300 fine and six penalty points on your licence for having no insurance
  • Up to £100 fine and three to six penalty points for riding without the correct licence

You could also be committing an offence if you're caught:

  • Riding on a pavement
  • Using a mobile phone or other handheld mobile device while riding; £200 and six penalty points
  • Riding through red lights; Fixed Penalty Notice, £100 fine and possible penalty points
  • Drink driving: the same as if you were driving a car, you could face court-imposed fines, a driving ban and possible imprisonment.

If you're using an e-scooter in public in an antisocial manner, you can also risk the e-scooter being seized under section 59 of the Police Reform Act.


Gambling is a public health issue and anyone can be vulnerable to addictive gambling. Inherent in this health-harming addictive activity are potentially devastating consequences. For individuals, for friends, families and communities. As a small borough with high levels of deprivation and inequality, and as a council absolutely committed to making our borough safer and more equal for everyone, we approach the licensing of gambling robustly.

However, we are constrained by national legislation, which doesn’t give us enough power to regulate gambling premises and which overlooks the harm of online gambling.

Nonetheless, we work closely with the voluntary sector to support individuals vulnerable to gambling, and we have recently consulted on the issue of gambling and passed anew robust gambling policy.

We set a high threshold to set up gambling shops and where a new application could result in saturation, clustering, or increased risk for vulnerable people, we will consider refusal.

Furthermore, this council is ensuring our voice is heard in the ongoing Gambling Act Review and, in the event this does not deliver more powers to local authorities, we will work with other local authorities on a Sustainable Communities Act proposal with the aim of ensuring remote gambling is controlled and the social and economic consequences of gambling harm are mitigated.

Improving ASB awareness and reporting

We recognise that ASB is a high priority issue and as a resident it can be confusing to know what might constitute ASB and where you should report it. We have more information on our website about what ASB is and how to report it.


Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and feelings of safety

Through the council’s crime and ASB monitoring which has been conducted in partnership with the police, there has been no correlation between low traffic neighbourhoods and an increase in crime. 

However, while our initial programme-wide monitoring data does not suggest the LTNs have had a negative impact on ASB and crime, we know that perception of safety and insecurity can deter people from using active travel modes.

As a council, we will investigate improving the public realm in ways which could deter the potential for crime, and to make areas feel subjectively safer. These public realm improvements could include improving sightlines for people walking and introducing new or improved public lighting.

No one is safe until everyone is safe, that’s why Islington council will continue to work with the police and our local community to make our borough the safest it can be. We will also ensure our public spaces are welcoming and accessible for all.

Nitrous Oxide (NOS)

The possession of Nitrous Oxide (NOS) for personal use is not an offence, however, there is evidence to suggest that the misuse of NOS is antisocial and can lead to more serious crime. To respond to the ASB caused by NOS use we work with our policing partners Parkguard and our licencing to identify NOS hotspots and to explore the powers we have to reduce the sale and use of NOS on the streets. The powers we have are limited and include:

  • Use of search and seizure under the PSA
  • The use of Sec 35 dispersal under the ASB, Crime and Policing Act
  • Local authority street trading powers

Our approach is rooted in harm reduction, we use ASB warnings to identify individuals who may be using NOS and use a stepped approach to deal with people involved in ASB, potentially preventing future criminal behaviour. This allows us to increase intelligence, highlight safeguarding issues and provide opportunities for engagement and support prior to any enforcement. When young people might be involved in NOS usage, we will always make a referral to support services via our Targeted Youth Support. We recognise that prevention is key to reducing involvement of young people in NOS use. Our Summerversity programme of activities over the summer holidays provides a range of opportunities for young people as well as one to one counselling where needed.

Outside lighting

We recognise that poor lighting contributes to people’s sense of feeling unsafe when out and about. We work with our street lighting and estate services teams to identify areas that have been negatively affected by poor lighting and we use environmental visual audits to identify where improved lighting would deter crime.

We conduct ‘walk and talk’ events to engage with residents and hear their thoughts on factors that make them feel unsafe taking forward recommendations with the relevant teams who can carry out lighting assessments and improve lighting where it is needed. 95% of the borough has now been upgraded to LED lighting, providing improved visibility.

Protecting school aged children

We work with a range of partners to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour that affects young people outside schools. This includes the safer schools’ police, neighbourhood and robbery squad police, headteachers, youth support services, Parkguard, British Transport Police, parks services and many others. We take an information led approach to allocate resources to problematic areas where we’ve seen an increase in crime and antisocial behaviour.  
The Community Safety Team, Emergency Planning, Street Population Team, Targeted Youth Support and the Police Neighbourhood Inspector meet weekly to review ASB calls to both the police and the council. This meeting allows us to identify emerging hotspot locations. This process ensures that resources, such as Parkguard patrols, policing and Targeted Youth Service visits, can be targeted to areas where emerging issues have been identified and to ensure a joined-up plan of action is in place to reduce crime and ASB.   
The police identify street robbery hotspots and allocate increased resourcing to these areas. They identify patrol plans for the Violence Suppression Unit (VSU) and response teams covers the response to the robberies that have been reported. 
The police and the council provide a range of joint patrols to provide reassurance and to gather intelligence. The Safer Schools Team and Robbery Squad liaise to ensure a coordinated approach and plain clothes patrols might also be provided as well as joint patrols by the Safer Neighbourhood Team and Parkguard focused on the time around the end of the school day.    
Information regarding individuals that have been identified as being involved in criminal activity and antisocial behaviour is shared between relevant services to ensure that robust support and enforcement measures are put in place to engage young people involved and to prevent further incidents.  
Secondary school head teachers meet regularly with representatives across all of our secondary schools. This group operates as a ‘family of schools’ who use the resources available to us to target the most appropriate schools. The schools work together to ensure we have a presence where it is needed most. 
The Metropolitan Police have a robbery prevention campaign called ‘Look Up Look Out'. This is aimed at raising awareness of robbery (particularly phone snatches) to members of the public. We share these resources with schools when needed and can organise robbery prevention events outside affected schools, to distribute information flyers to pupils and parents. 
Young people under 18 who have received ASB warnings are referred to Childrens Services front desk, creating a referral to the Targeted Youth Support team who work with young people with complex needs. They also conduct detached work where they visit estates and parks to engage with young people and work with any young person at risk of crime or exploitation.

Ward panels and local bulletins

We encourage you to attend the quarterly police ward panel meetings, to receive regular ASB and crime profiles that give detailed information of actions that have been taken to tackle crime and ASB. At these meetings you will have an opportunity to raise any new concerns around ASB and crime directly with the police and the councils’ Community Safety Team.

You will be able to contribute towards setting local crime priorities and your views will help decide how resources are deployed. The ward panels are an excellent forum for residents with an interest in crime and ASB to take a more active role in reducing local crime.

If you would like to attend, please contact the local policing team for your area and the team will add you to the next invite.

You can sign up for local bulletins, with regular updates on a wide range of local news and community safety updates.

Women's safety

Islington council has a zero-tolerance approach to the mistreatment, abuse and violation of women and girls. Any form of violence against women and girls is unacceptable and abhorrent and we are determined that Islington continues to be one of the leading and most forward-thinking areas in the country when it comes to tackling all forms of violence and abuse against women and girls. Islington’s VAWG Strategy 2021-2026 was designed to ensure that collective action is taken to address all forms of Violence against Women and Girls and to make it clear that its elimination is everyone’s responsibility. You can find out more about our services and approach on our Violence against women and girls webpage

In the past year Islington’s specialist advocacy services have supported 1,807 survivors of domestic violence and their families, providing exceptional outcomes for survivors with 80% telling us they feel safer after engaging with our services.

Islington undertakes a number of activities aimed at improving women’s safety and their feelings of safety. The council and police have held women’s walks, which are events for women to speak about their concerns in public spaces and helps us to identify ways to improve safety within the community. These measures might include improving lighting and visibility of spaces as well as awareness raising campaigns and training to help address bullying, sexual harassment or hate crime.

The council recognises that women can feel more vulnerable in the evening, and it targets support by engaging pubs and clubs through a Women’s Night Safety Charter. Welfare and vulnerability engagement focuses on preventing harm to vulnerable women in the night-time economy, including the Ask Angela Campaign and drink spiking prevention. In Islington 272 night-time businesses completed Welfare and Vulnerability Engagement training in the last year.

Work with schools to protect young people

The safety of our children and young people forms a key part of our longer-term work. This is outlined in our Youth Safety Strategy 2020-25 and our new Violence Reduction Strategy, as well as forming a pillar of the Council’s new Education Plan.

We take the safety of our young people coming to and from school very seriously and work closely on a multi-agency basis with the police, schools, school Safety Officers and the council’s youth workers to ensure there is a joined-up response to any emerging issues. Although the police lead on criminal matters such as robberies we will support through effective intel gathering and information sharing, coordination of multiagency action plans to target recourses and escalate enforcement and support.

It is important that any robberies are recorded so the police, council and school can respond accordingly. Non-violent incidents, i.e. where a phone is snatched, should be reported using the 101 non-emergency number but any violent crime should be reported by dialling 999.

The council have close links with schools and the Safer Schools police officers who are in regular contact to share information around problematic locations. The council and the Executive Member for Community Safety attend meetings with all Head Teachers in the borough to ensure that their concerns are heard and that we are working to respond to concerns.

Working with neighbouring boroughs

We recognise that crime has no boundaries, and it is essential that we coordinate and work with our counterparts in neighbouring boroughs to ensure that crime is not simply displaced into another area without effectively tackling the causes of crime.  
We work very closely with our community safety colleagues in other boroughs, as well as councillors, the police, and partners in outreach work and transport. We meet regularly to ensure that we are:
  • Working towards shared goals
  • Targeting pooled resources to reduce ASB
  • Sharing information to identify and track perpetrators
  • Taking forward joint communication projects with residents across boroughs such as the Love Finsbury Park webpage.  

Young people and crime

Young people often find themselves the victims of crime but might also be very afraid to report crime fearing reprisals or believing that nothing will be done.

However, reporting crime is the main way that we can identify perpetrators, investigate and prevent these incidents from happening again. You can report a crime without your information being given, Crimestoppers is completely anonymous and you will not be contacted or have your personal information recorded anywhere.

By giving information around times, locations, descriptions of events and people you allow the police to investigate the crime even without a victim; put more recourses into patrolling in that area; bring in the support of the wider partnership to gather further evidence and take effective steps to identify criminals and deter further crime. You can contact Crimestoppers at Tel: 0800555111 or via their website.

It is important to stress that you can receive support as a victim without reporting a crime and we urge young people to do this by speaking to Victim Support. ‘You & Co’ is a youth programme run by Victim Support, that helps young people cope with the impact and effects of crime. All information is confidential and will not be shared with the police (unless there is a serious safeguarding concern). There is no time limit on contacting Victim Support, and you can create a free account on their online support hub called ‘My Support Space’. This has lots of useful tools on coping with the impact of crime, which could be beneficial for the whole family.

Contact Victim Support by calling 08081689111 or visiting their website.
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