Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, and Chief Constable Dave Jones today outlined a £3 million strategy to improve protection for vulnerable people.
As part of their plans, they have pledged to:
· Expand substantially the force’s Serious Crime Team which investigates crimes involving violence, rape, domestic abuse and the sexual exploitation of children
· Expand the Integrated Offender Management team to help stop reoffending
· Expand the Digital Forensics Unit to increase the force’s ability to investigate cases involving modern technology such as tablets and smartphones
· Create a Historical Child Abuse Investigation Team to investigate allegations of historical sexual abuse
· Increase capacity to tackle cybercrime and online fraud, building on the team that was established last year
· Improve training and welfare support for officers and staff who work in this challenging area
Julia Mulligan said: “In drawing up the Police and Crime Plan, the public of North Yorkshire clearly told me their number one priority is to protect vulnerable people. This includes a better response to people with mental health issues, tackling child sexual exploitation, online crime and fraud. All of which are contributing to increasing demands on our police service.
"The force has been carefully considering its approach to these issues for a while now, however it is fair to say that over recent weeks, we have been greatly assisted by our improved finances. In short, we are in a much better position to invest in this crucial area of policing.
“As well as the increase in reported abuse and other crimes, the police are having to deal with exponential growth in the use of smartphones and tablets which may need to be forensically examined.
Chief Constable Dave Jones said: "During the last year several reviews including by the HMIC found that most Forces – including North Yorkshire Police – have more to do when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable people in our society from crime such as domestic abuse, sexual abuse and online exploitation. Today explains how we intend to meet this challenge, having spent some time considering the right approach, that ensures greater protection for vulnerable people here in North Yorkshire.
“The internet provides for increased opportunities for offenders, investigative challenges for policing and new ways of thinking about how we can protect people in their own homes, as well as out in their communities. The frontline in tackling such crimes is more and more in our own front rooms.
“This will take time to achieve, because we want to make sure we are bringing in the right skills for the job – and that may mean looking outside the traditional ‘police’ skillset for some roles.
“Tackling vulnerability is one of the biggest challenges facing the police service as a whole, but expanding our capacity in the way we plan to do will strengthen our hand in dealing with these significant issues. The uplift is the right investment utilising the opportunity created by the new financial position."