Bedfordshire PCC says domestic abuse figures “very upsetting”


So far this year, Bedfordshire Police has had 4,612 cases of domestic abuse and 3,431 of them had a child in the home, the county’s top cop has said.

During the latest police and crime commissioner (PCC) and chief constable accountability meeting (November 20) the number of domestic abuse cases was discussed.

The chief constable, Trevor Rodenhurst, told the PCC that domestic abuse is a serious problem nationally.

“Hence we put a lot of resources into domestic abuse and not just to investigate the crimes, but also to look at really focusing on those that might be repeat offenders, in servicing Clare’s Law, [etc.],” he said.

Clare’s Law gives several ways for police officers to disclose a person’s history of abusive behaviour to those who may be at risk from such behaviour. This is intended to reduce intimate partner violence.

The chief said last year the force had 4,918 cases of crimes recorded as one of the domestic abuse categories.

“But, I’m pleased to say we’ve seen a reduction in repeat offences this year, but not as big as I’d like,” he said.

After clarifying the figure, the chief said the force had had 4,612 cases in the year to date.

“In terms of how many of them had children present, there were 3,431 occasions, so a very high proportion, obviously which is troubling in itself because of what they’ve been exposed to.

“We have that figure because we have to share that in a partnership environment in order to look at the welfare of those children,” he said.

PCC Festus Akinbusoye asked about the processes followed when a child is involved in these cases.

The chief said: “There are a number of things that happen, obviously each case is treated on its merits.

“We always seek to put in support to the victims of these crimes and we have victim engagement officers – specialists to support these families.”

He explained that a risk assessment is conducted and there are referrals to a multi-agency safeguarding hub.

“So that we make our colleagues in Social Services and schools aware of that. We may do much more than that, but it depends on the unique circumstances of each case,” he said.

The PCC said these figures were “very upsetting”.

“These will be kids who we’re going to be expecting to make good healthy choices in our communities, and this is going to be part of the adverse childhood experiences that they’re going to be growing up with.

“So I’ll be very keen to see what more I can do from my office when we go through the commissioning for next year on how we can support those kids,” he said.

Women being abused can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 for free at any time, day or night.

Other providers of help and assistance can be found on the NHS Domestic Violence and abuse webpage.

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.

If you can’t speak and are calling on a mobile press 55 to have your call transferred to the police.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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