An update from Katy Bourne MBE, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner on new funding awards plus the unacceptable face of attacks on police officers ...
This week we received great news of two funding awards. The Police Science, Technology and Research Board has provided £45,000 to my office to develop an innovative new app for people who find themselves in vulnerable situations, especially women and girls.
Funding for the app has been awarded by the Board which provides monies for future police programmes. They were particularly keen to receive bids supporting police efforts to better understand and/or combat violence, abuse and intimidation against women and girls.
The new app will provide reassurance and support, helping those who feel they are in danger to quickly and easily share their location with a trusted contact, as well as giving them the means to capture evidence and make a non-emergency report to Sussex Police.
The Home Office also announced yesterday that my office will receive £205,204 to develop and expand a successful programme that helps victims of Domestic Abuse and helps DA perpetrators address their behaviour.
In Sussex, DA Perpetrators can self-refer to the existing programme run by Cranstoun or be referred by a professional. Demand for the support services has exceeded expectations in the first four months of the programme with 76 men self-referring.
The £205k is part of the £11.3 million awarded to 25 Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in England and Wales, to go towards domestic abuse intervention programmes.
Supporting victims of crime is a key statutory responsibility for PCCs but so is preventing re-offending. The DA perpetrator programme is just one example of a successful behaviour change approach which saves resources and time and most importantly prevents further and future harm.
Last night I was delighted to join the charity Sussex Pathways (pictured above) for the presentation of their Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Sir Peter Field. Sussex Pathways assists around 100 released prisoners to integrate back into society each year and avoid reoffending. We know restorative justice works so I have been pleased to support the charity with substantial funding to help them continue their life-changing work.
Yesterday morning, I was asked to talk on local radio about the appalling rise of attacks and abuse on police officers following alarming figures revealed by the Police Federation and Government statistics. Over the past year in Sussex, more than three officers were assaulted every day, totalling 1235 attacks with 26% resulting in injury.
The number of assaults has steadily increased over the past three years, with 1,151 attacks last year and 1,033 in 2018/19 in Sussex. Nationally, there were 36,969 attacks last year, an increase of 20% on the year before.
I made it very clear that the public depend upon police officers to keep us all as safe as possible, so the law needs to ensure that we protect our emergency service workers including police. This is why I support the proposed doubling of the available jail sentences for people who assault them.