Commissioner's newsletter

October 2018

It's been yet another busy month for the OPCC!

October has seen Hate Crime Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day, Anti-slavery Day and this week we're celebrating the first ever International Control Room Week.

It's great to have these special days and weeks to raise the profile of different things affecting our communities, recognise the good work being done and highlight what more we can do.

I've been up to London to give evidence at the Public Accounts Committee about the financial sustainability of police forces in England and Wales.

Once again I took this opportunity to lobby Government for fairer funding for rural forces like ours. It is simply not fair that the funding formula does not take into consideration the large number of tourists who visit our beautiful counties ever year and the additional pressure this puts on our police force and all our emergency services.

This isn't the first time and I suspect it won't be the last time I'll be having this conversation but it certainly isn't something I'll be giving up on anytime soon.

Keep up to date with news from the office by following us on Twitter, Facebook or via our website.

Alison Hernandez

Early intervention scheme for vulnerable residents

On World Mental Health Day a pioneering scheme which aims to provide mentally unwell people with medical help launched across Devon and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The Integrated Police Mental Health Service, part funded by the Office of the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, is the first of its type in the country.

It allows frontline police officers to refer directly to mental health services when they suspect someone they come into contact with is unwell, as well as access timely and informed advice from mental health professionals.

It brings together three schemes - liaison and diversion, street triage and neighbourhood - into a force-wide service that will reduce demand on the police force and provide mentally unwell people with the help they need earlier than is currently possible.

Devon and Cornwall Police estimates that 40% of demand is related to substance misuse, people suffering from mental ill health, those with learning disabilities or other psychosocial vulnerabilities.

A two-year pilot of the neighbourhood scheme in Cornwall led to a 33% reduction in this demand and an eight-week test in North Devon led to 49 referrals, with 12 of those people referred not previously known to medical professionals. Two were so ill that they were immediately hospitalised.

The scheme has been led by a Cornish police officer, Chief Inspector Mark Bolt, who was frustrated by the fact that officers could only recommend those who they came into contact with sought medical help unless they had committed a crime.

More information is available on our website.

Latest News

Pioneering project aims to reduce reoffending at Exeter Prison

The days of inmates being released from Exeter Prison with inadequate clothing, no housing and with limited support look set to be a thing of the past thanks to a pioneering new scheme.

he pilot ‘checkout lounge’ project brings together offenders and experts in a range of areas like housing, drug and alcohol support and employment a fortnight before they are released. Sessions take place weekly in an informal setting.

On release a ‘departure lounge’ allows former offenders to charge a mobile phone and ensure they have adequate clothing and a support network in place. Basic food and toiletry parcels have been put together with the help of donations.

The scheme, which is being tested with the support of the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, aims to prevent a revolving door of reoffending and reduce homelessness by giving people the best possible chance of a fresh start in life.

Find out more >

Communities will always stand strong against hate

Hate Crime Awareness Week is a time when the police and criminal justice family join others in the public and charitable sector to send out a powerful message to all communities that those who breed hatred and contempt have no place in society and that we will work together to expose and punish such bigotry.

Each year Hate Crime Awareness Week gets bigger and reaches a wider audience. It is a fantastic opportunity to show victims of this awful crime that we treat their experiences seriously, thus encouraging more people to come forward and get help if they haven’t already done so.

If you are a victim of hate crime, or if you know somebody who has been, then do not be silent. The police will listen to you, you will be believed and the crimes committed against you will be investigated. But that can only happen if you take the first step and report the crime, or find a way that you are comfortable for it to be reported.

Read more >

Businesses enlisted to help combat modern slavery

A new 'Buy With Confidence' scheme was launched by the OPCC on Anti-slavery Day in partnership with Trading Standards.

Buy With Confidence is a national directory of trading standards-approved businesses who have demonstrated that they trade in a fair, honest and legal way.

Once the pilot is completed the aim is to roll the scheme out across the country – BWC includes more than 4,000 trusted traders all over the UK.

It will help consumers make informed decisions about where they are purchasing products or services. When they see this Buy With Confidence mark they know that throughout the supply chain everyone has been treated fairly and ethically.

“There are still too many businesses that have unethical supply chains or use forced labour – this type of business crime needs to be stamped out and everything will be done to prosecute any business owners who are involved in modern slavery of any kind." said Alison

Full story >

See more news from the OPCC

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