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Wiltshire Police Federation

National Chair joins Home Secretary on visit to Sussex

6 July 2020


The Federation's National Chair, John Apter, has visited Sussex to see how the force is tackling domestic abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He met with Home Secretary Priti Patel at police headquarters in Lewes today (July 6) and Sussex's newly-appointed Chief Constable Jo Shiner, as well as Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, and officers from specialist teams.

Sussex been hailed as an ‘exemplar’ by the Home Office for its effectiveness in tackling domestic violence, sexual abuse and modern slavery during the lockdown. It created a 39-strong specialist unit called the Local Resolution Team, who discuss incidents with a caller, leading to an investigation, advice and support. More than 1,400 victims across Sussex have so far been supported in this way and have given positive feedback on the process.

The Home Secretary and Mr Apter were shown an interactive demonstration of new secure mobile technology, which follows the same process as a victim would from receiving the text message alert, to virtually meeting a specialist trained officer.

Mr Apter said: "We looked at the use of technology and how they are managing domestic violence and abuse, both victims and offenders which was really innovative. It was also really good to see the newly created intervention team. It is kicking in doors and disrupting criminals, letting criminals know they are coming after them - which is want the public wants to see.

"From the Federation's perspective, it is also good to see a force investing in that side of policing because over the last few years, if anything we've seen the withdrawal of those type of units."

The visit was also an opportunity for Mr Apter to discuss recruitment and assaults on officers (Sussex has seen a significant increase) with the Home Secretary. He added: "It was also reassuring to hear the Chief talking about her priorities of looking after officers and staff and giving them to the support they need."

Ms Patel said: “Our message to domestic abuse victims during this pandemic has been simple - you are not alone. I am proud of how communities and our fantastic police have gone the extra mile to support those most in need.”

It was great to meet the officers today and hear their motivations for joining and their aspirations. The vital work they are doing in tackling and preventing domestic violence cannot be understated."

During the visit the Home Secretary and Mr Apter also met with new officer recruits funded from the Government’s uplift programme and members of specially trained enforcement teams including the recently expanded Tactical Enforcement Units and the new Rural Crime Team.