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Leading the way in protecting vulnerable people

15th December 2015

Northumbria Police has been judged as one of the top performing forces in England and Wales when it comes to supporting vulnerable people, according to the HMIC in their latest PEEL effectiveness inspection programme.

Their report, which was issued on Monday, judged the force as being  ‘good’ at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable and supporting victims.

Out of the 43 forces in England and Wales only 12 were judges as being ‘good’. 27 forces were told they ‘required improvement’ and four were seen to be ‘inadequate’ at protecting vulnerable people from harm and supporting victims.

The report highlights that the force has made protecting vulnerable people from harm a high priority for officers and staff and that both the police and crime commissioner (PCC) and the chief constable have a strong commitment to improving the services they provide.

It also mentioned how the  force is good at identifying those who are vulnerable and assessing the risk that they face and what is needed to keep them safe.

It praises the force’s clear and consistently applied processes in place to identify repeat and vulnerable victims and the regular and robust supervision and scrutiny of incidents to ensure an appropriate and timely response.

Their inspection found that to help achieve the force’s commitment to improve the services provided to vulnerable people a significant investment has been made in training staff. This ensures that they have a good level of knowledge and understanding.

They were also impressed with the widespread and innovative ways of working that officers use to protect and support vulnerable people, often in partnership with other agencies.

Overall their assessment was that the force provides a good response to and safeguards missing children, and victims of domestic abuse, and is well-prepared to tackle child sexual exploitation.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “People often don’t realise when they are vulnerable and can get into situations through no fault of their own.  Northumbria Police has a duty to look after them, whatever the circumstance and doing everything we can to protect vulnerable people is a top priority of mine.

“The force should be proud of how it safeguards missing children, responds to victims of domestic abuse and how it tackles child sexual exploitation.

“In many areas we’re leading the way such as our vulnerability training for door staff which helps to safeguard people in town on a night out. Since we introduced this scheme it has been taken up as a national qualification. That said, while we have many great initiatives in place to keep the vulnerable safe – it doesn’t stop there.

“We will continue to explore new technologies and innovative ways of working with partners to ensure we evolve and improve how we identify, assess and respond to the needs of the vulnerable and I will continue to take a personal lead on what is a very important issue.”

 

Chief Constable Steve Ashman said: “Protecting vulnerable people who are less able to protect themselves is the primary role of Northumbria Police.  It is at the heart of what we do and this report shows that we are one of the best forces in the country at doing just that.

 

“We are extremely encouraged by the way the force has been recognised for the quality and good standard of it’s approach to dealing with people who are vulnerable from harm, safeguards missing children, our preparedness to tackle child sexual exploitation and to support victims of domestic abuse.

 

“We have developed a wide range actions to deliver a comprehensive approach to these issues which see the victims needs as paramount.  Our officers help to support and protect victims of domestic abuse and take advantage of all available investigative opportunities to prevent further abuse.

 

“We have invested in training all our officers in new legislation for the offence of Coercive Control, enabling all our officers to fully understand and identify the complex nature of this abuse which over time undermines victims’ confidence.  In addition, officers now frequently attend domestic abuse reports with body worn cameras, to immediately capture the best evidence which helps officers improve the standard of their investigation and results in higher arrest and conviction rates.  For every 100 domestic abuse crimes we have made 84 arrests and charged 51% of these with offences, compared with 27% for England and Wales

 

“Working with our partners is crucial in providing the necessary support and we have domestic violence workers accompanying police officers on patrols to ensure that this engagement with victims happens at the earliest opportunity. With our partners we also recognise the need for us to work with domestic violence offenders, to support them in changing their behaviour to make women and their children feel safer.

 

“We also make good use of Domestic Violence Protection Order applications which can ban a perpetrator, with immediate effect, from returning to a residence and having contact with the victim for up to 28-days, allowing the victim time to consider their options and get the support they need.

 

“There are areas we can improve upon, and we will.  We will never become complacent over this and we will strive over the next year to become outstanding in this area.”