General information about the Project (Summary)

Who are we? We are a team of researchers from Keele University, the University of Edinburgh, Oxford University and University College London. We have been awarded funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (Reference ES/S010734/1) for a three year project which is based in Macclesfield.

What are we interested in? At the heart of our research is the question of what makes people feel safe or unsafe in their daily lives and in the places in which the live. How do people feel about the town in which they live and how do they think it has changed? What worries about their safety in the town? What makes them feel unsafe and how do they respond to the things that worry them? What do they expect of the authorities responsible for their safety and of those around them?

Why are we doing this study in Macclesfield? Lots of research on public safety is done in big cities. By contrast, we want to understand how people away from major urban centres experience safety in the places where they live, shop, work and go about their everyday lives. We carried out a similar study in Macclesfield 25 years ago (between 1994-1996). One reason for coming back is to find out how the town, and people's feelings about it, have changed in the last quarter of a century.

What will we be doing? Over the next three years we will be talking to as many local people as possible about their views and experiences. We want to make sure that our research includes the experiences of as wide range of people as possible who live and work in Macclesfield. We will be talking to residents from different parts of the town, of different age groups and with different interests/experiences. We will also be talking with those whose job involves managing people’s safety in the town and in their daily lives (for example the police, local authorities and other community groups and organisations). We will be talking to people individually or in groups and we will be around the town observing everyday life and picking up on local concerns and issues. We will also organise a large scale survey of residents to ensure that we have a detailed understanding of the range and strength of views about these issues across the town. We will be organising events which encourage public debate about what is important to residents and how can that be achieved. We hope that our research will inform those who make policy about safety/insecurity in the town as well as develop ways in which public debate can usefully inform such decisions in the future.

Getting in touch

If you want to find out more about the project or wonder how and whether you can participate please you can contact us through this website or by emailing Dr Evi Girling at