Humberside Police told to improve how they deal with vulnerable people

INCREASING domestic violence and the large number of young people going missing are stretching scarce police resources.



Deputy chief constable Gary Forsyth of Humberside Police

Deputy chief constable Gary Forsyth.

But in the latest Inspectorate of Constabulary “Effectiveness” report the spotlight was turned on how Humberside Police deals with domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and people with mental health problems and missing people.

Deputy Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said domestic violence cases had increased seven per cent this year.

This year the force received 10,207 reports of domestic abuse. In October alone, there were 1,713 calls for service in relation to domestic abuse.

More than a third of calls to Humberside Police relate to domestic abuse and that rises to 54 per cent in December.

His force had answered 117,539 emergency calls and 293,049 non-emergency calls so far this year, all of which are immediately assessed to determine the level of vulnerability and prioritised accordingly.

Call handling at Humberside had improved since the inspection with around six per cent of 101 calls unanswered compared to 27 per cent back in May.

He said Humberside had made significant progress since the inspection in July.

That was just weeks after the force adopted a new “single model” which did away with divisions, including Grimsby and Scunthorpe in April.

Mr Forsyth said steps had been taken to put the inspectors recommendations into action.

He said: “Protecting vulnerable people is one of our key priorities.

“HMIC has noted that we identify vulnerability as soon as someone contacts us and that we focus on the needs of each individual victim rather than the crime, to ensure the appropriate support and safeguarding is in place.

“We have ensured our specialist Protecting Vulnerable People team are available around the clock to provide expert support and advice to frontline officers and we have put additional officers into PVP to ensure our service is the best it can be.

“We have made inroads into the way we deal with domestic abuse, with heightened general awareness and understanding of the issues involved and how to deal with them.

“We attend all reports of domestic abuse in order to make a full assessment of the circumstances, consider ongoing risks, check on the welfare of all family members and secure and preserve evidence. We know domestic abuse is an under-reported crime and we are working hard to encourage more victims to come forward and trust that we will help and support them.”

It is estimated only one in four cases of domestic abuse is reported to police.

The report acknowledged the work the force had undertaken in preventing child sexual exploitation and missing children.

Between April 2014 and April 2015, the force dealt with 2,008 incidents of missing people, involving 1,300 individuals, 786 of which were children.

During the same period in 2013 to 14, the force dealt with 2,178 incidents, involving 1,360 individuals, 821 of which were children.

Mr Forsyth said: “We do everything we can to preserve life.”

He added: “I want to reassure the public that the investigation into any missing child is thorough and an absolute priority.

“We have made significant improvements yet it is a sad reality that some young people repeatedly go missing. That is why we work closely with our partners to learn from such cases, plan ahead and identify what can be done to support them and to keep them safe.”

The Assistant Chief renewed his backing for Neighbourhood Police Teams in each community.

He said: “We are definitely heading in the right direction and this is due to the hard work and dedication of everyone. I am confident that we all share a determination to ensure the public receive the excellent service they deserve.”

Increased numbers of officers in Lincolnshire Police will be drafted in to cope with a rising tide of domestic abuse and missing people.

Deputy Chief Constable for Lincolnshire, Heather Roach, said from early next year, increased resources will be directed to a range of areas covered by the report including child sexual exploitation and abuse, internet grooming, domestic violence and dealing with missing persons.

Like Humberside, the Lincolnshire force was deemed as “requiring improvement”.

Mrs Roach said: “The investment of staff alone in these areas of business will go a considerable way to improving our response and we are well aware that frontline staff need to develop greater awareness particularly in areas associated with child sexual exploitation (CSE) and vulnerability,”

There is an average of 28 calls a day to cases of domestic abuse, more than 10,300 in the past year.

The top officer said: “Each one is unique and demands a professional, objective and caring approach by the officers dealing with them and the report notes our response in this area is good and our policy is clear and well-understood by staff across the force.”

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