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Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Bulletin Issue 8

03 April 2020

Welcome to the APCC Bulletin

Introduction from Katy Bourne OBE, APCC Chair and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner: 

Engagement is key to maintaining public trust in policing

Katy bourneLast week, new regulations were introduced to support police officers in enforcing measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Police and Crime Commissioners fully understand the impact that these massively disruptive measures are having on the public. We are rightly proud of our policing by consent model in this country and PCCs know that, in order for these measures to be truly effective, the police will need to maintain public confidence. That means calmly engaging, explaining and encouraging people to do the right thing, not being overzealous and only taking enforcement measures as a last resort. 

The current situation is unparalleled and it is vital that the right balance is struck. On behalf of the public, all PCCs will continue to support their Chief Constables whilst also holding them to account over how these powers are being used. 

Ultimately though, people understand that this is about protecting the NHS and saving lives. I want to thank all emergency services and frontline workers for the incredible work they are doing to keep us safe.



Work will continue to protect the vulnerable, trapped at home with domestic abusers during the coronavirus lockdown

It is widely accepted that the current social distancing measures in place may disproportionately impact on those who already face many challenges in the home, which can be even more frightening during self-isolation with an abuser. APCC Victims Leads, Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and Sophie Linden, London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime note that PCCs will work closely with the local support services they commission to ensure victims continue to be looked after and have access to the help and support they need.  In this time of challenge, PCCs are also taking a flexible approach to delivering these services through the increased use of digital engagement.

In North Yorkshire, a Live Chat service has been extended to provide a discrete way for victims to get help and advice when they may not be able to make a private phone call. The Live Chat service is staffed by specially trained domestic abuse support workers and offers online video calls, messaging services, telephone and email support. Also, Foundation UK is currently exploring options to temporarily accommodate perpetrators for longer periods; this will help provide respite for victims and their families.

In London, the Mayor has pledged £1m investment to an emergency fund for civil society groups affected by the Coronavirus. City Hall is working with charity partners and others to ensure there is suitable accommodation available for women fleeing violence and those who are at risk of violence.

Martyn Underhill, PCC for Dorset, is running the 'You Are Not Alone' campaign on social media, alongside Dorset Police. The aim is to reassure victims that support is still available for them and they don’t need to wait for lockdown or self-isolation to end before they get help. A key message of this campaign is to help victims identify abuse, specifically the new offences of coercive and controlling behaviour in which perpetrators psychologically manipulate their victims.

The PCC for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Alison Hernandez, is also pushing out the ‘You Are Not Alone’ message via digital media. 

Broader victim support is a key priority during crisis

All PCCs are getting messages of reassurance out to victims of crime that vital support services, primarily those commissioned through the offices of PCCs, will still be available during the Coronavirus emergency. In some forces, including Staffordshire and Derbyshire, services can now be accessed online, by Skype or webchat where available, or by telephone, to ensure the health and wellbeing of their staff and the wider community.

Some PCCs are working in conjunction with Victim Support, with a new online support resource, My Support Space, now available in forces including Humberside and Lincolnshire. My Support Space is designed to help victims of crime manage the impact that crime has had on them. It is a free, safe, secure and confidential space where they can choose how they want to be supported after crime.

PCCs to help local community, charity and voluntary groups to continue their vital work

Across the country, local organisations are facing an unprecedented challenge in how they support families and deliver projects and services following the outbreak of the Coronavirus. For many, cashflow will contribute significantly to their concerns. Many PCCs are pledging their continued support to local organisations to ensure the valuable work is continued.

In Northumbria, PCC Kim McGuinness has brought forward the annual £200,000 community fund as a new project designed to help local charity organisations continue their vital work. From Monday 30 March, applications for grants of up to £5k were open to help sustain the delivery of crucial community projects that have been impacted by the current global health crisis.

More information can be found here.

Anthony Stansfeld, PCC for Thames Valley, has also announced financial support for local groups. On Monday 30 March a new grant round of the Police Property Act Fund (PPAF) was opened as an emergency response to the impact of coronavirus, providing £100,000 to community and voluntary groups across the Thames Valley. The next round of the PPAF would not normally be available until the summer however it is being opened early in the hope that it can support organisations across the Thames Valley who are in urgent need because of the impact of coronavirus.

More information can be found here.

 

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