Commissioner's Blog and Office Update - 17th April 2020
During the past week improving weather has tested the how seriously people are taking the instructions to stay at home unless one of a very few reasons for leaving apply. It is heartening that the vast majority of people have played their part in protecting themselves, their family, others in their communities and also the NHS. Protecting the ability of the NHS to care for those who require its services when under the increased pressure created by Covid-19 is the number one national priority at this time. The Police have a part to play in this and one aspect of my role is to oversee how effectively the police are fulfilling that requirement, whilst still carrying out their other day to day duties.
I am content that Humberside Police are maintaining a good degree of balance in their application of the new rules and powers, I issued a statement earlier this week when national figures were released about how police were enforcing the new rules. That doesn’t mean every report of people failing to maintain social distancing can be responded to immediately, but it also does not mean that those intent on ignoring advice on how and why to comply will evade a penalty. Enforcement will be carried out where other options fail to make people understand we all have a duty now, regardless of personal views. This current situation absolutely requires the co-operation of the public and the key aspect of the policing response now must be to maintain public confidence so as to encourage that willing co-operation; people must understand that failure to comply will lead to prosecution but persuasion and engagement remain the preference.
At a time when people are staying home, the nature of the issues the police must face are changing in some ways. Fewer people on the streets, pubs, social and sports clubs closed and far fewer shops open mean that some crimes are reducing whilst the opportunity for other crimes to be committed grows. Domestic Abuse is an obvious area where there are likely to be additional pressures, with people forced to spend longer periods together. The targeting of people through use of the internet and social media either for fraud or the exploitation of young people for sexual or criminal aims are other areas where we need increasing vigilance and ability to respond when necessary. As more people find money very tight with reduced opportunities to work we need to be alert to loan sharks preying on new vulnerabilities. My office, the OPCC, is doing what it can to assist and alert people to these dangers and ensure support services are there when people need them. I am also fulfilling my role of scrutinising Humberside Police to make sure it is being flexible in how it responds to these emerging and evolving threats.
Police and Crime Commissioner
An update on our work
Following last weeks' update on how our office is continuing to do business during the lockdown, we have continued to hold online meetings with senior officers in Humberside Police to receive updates and perform our scrutiny role, not just in regard to Covid-19 but in all other areas of regular policing functions.
Our team have maintained contact with the victim and support services we commission on behalf of the public and we are reassured that they are all able to continue to provide services and support throughout this period of increased vulnerability due to the Covid-19 lockdown. We have been working closely with Domestic Abuse service managers in all four of our local authority areas plus our commissioned service The Blue Door and Humberside Police to assist us in building a campaign to raise awareness of Domestic Abuse and the support that is out there for those affected. We hope to launch the campaign in around a week from now.
We are also reviewing our Not In Our Community Campaign to raise awareness of Child Sexual and Criminal Exploitation, this will progress over the coming weeks.
Our generic Victim Support service gave an update this week on how they are continuing to work. You can read it HERE
This week Humberside Police launched their new Video Interview System which was funded by our office and will greatly assist police officers and staff, victims of crime and witnesses to conduct investigations despite the challenges of social distancing. The force are the first in the country to adopt this system. Find out more HERE
We received some positive news this week when our Appropriate Adult Service, operated by our office and the University of Hull, was shortlisted for the Working in Partnership Award by Hull University Union. The scheme trains degree students to become Appropriate Adults, supporting young people or vulnerable adults through the interview process when in custody.
Our office has this week submitted a bid to the Ministry of Justice's Covid-19 response fund for extra financial support for our local victim services.
My Community Alert
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Coronavirus Information where you live
For links to local council advice sites and other information CLICK HERE
Domestic Abuse - You are Not Alone
Posted on Friday 17th April 2020