Police in bid to avoid losing crime victims

Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, Med Hughes.
Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, Med Hughes.
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POLICE chiefs in South Yorkshire have introduced a new way of identifying vulnerable residents at risk of becoming repeat victims of anti-social behaviour to avoid people slipping through the net.

In the past, incidents were logged based on their location, but now telephone operators also ask callers three specific questions to try to establish those who may be in need of extra help after the issue they are raising has been logged.

Callers classed as vulnerable are identified on police computer systems and arrangements are made for officers to visit or speak to those flagged up to establish whether they are repeat victims.

Since the system was introduced in April, 508 callers have been deemed vulnerable – 240 in Sheffield, 103 in Doncaster, 88 in Rotherham and 77 in Barnsley.

The system was introduced after the death of Leicestershire woman Fiona Pilkington in 2007 after she killed herself and her disabled daughter following years of torment from youths.

Leicestershire Constabulary was criticised for failing to properly protect the women despite repeated calls about their problems.

To try to avoid a similar issue in South Yorkshire, Chief Constable Med Hughes ordered changes to be made to the way telephone calls are logged, with operators asked to identify ‘vulnerable’ callers who could be repeat victims of nuisance behaviour or at risk of problems in the future.

In a report on the system, to be discussed today by South Yorkshire Police Authority, Mr Hughes said: “Providing a timely and effective service to vulnerable victims of anti-social behaviour is a priority for local communities. The importance of the issue in terms of the victim’s experience, the reputation of the local police and overall community confidence was highlighted by the Pilkington Case in Leicestershire.”

He said an average of 320 incidents of anti-social behaviour are recorded by South Yorkshire Police daily.

Mr Hughes said: “The changes made to the recording practices to enable repeat and vulnerable victims to be identified have been successful. However, this will only be of use if effective multi-agency action is subsequently taken.”