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Funding Secured Through the Police Innovation Fund

26th March 2015

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has secured almost £3m funding over the next year for projects to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

Commissioner Baird received confirmation from the Home Office today that five separate bids to the Police Innovation Fund have been successful, totalling over £2.7m funding over 2015/16 with more approved in principle for 2016/17.

These include Project Sanctuary  – an extension to Operation Sanctuary – which would introduce operational community based hubs to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE); vulnerability and Modern Day Slavery.

The teams involved will take a victim-based approach in keeping with the good practice identified during Operation Sanctuary – the ongoing investigation into crimes of a sexual nature against vulnerable women and girls.

Also approved is funding for two projects focused on domestic abuse. One looks at identifying, tackling and safeguarding serial victims which means an individual who has been a victim of abuse from two or more partners, family members or a combination of both. The second will be an enhanced project to tackle domestic abuse perpetrators.

Support given to children and vulnerable adults who are required to give evidence in criminal proceedings will also be maximised. The funding aims to change the way this is currently carried out by enabling evidence to be provided from more suitable sites outside the courts.

The final project to receive funding is SafetyWorks! The multi-agency centre will continue to provide its interactive educational experience for children through the cash boost from the fund as well as broaden its remit and increase its capacity.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “I am delighted with the news these five projects will receive well deserved monies from the Police Innovation Fund.

“Protecting the vulnerable is an absolute priority for me and the projects successful in this bidding process will go a long way to doing that, making a huge difference to our communities.

“They will see our officers working with a range of partner agencies in their delivery, ensuring a collaborative approach is taken to give people the best possible well-rounded and enhanced service.

“It’s also great to see a worthy project such as SafetyWorks! continue and expand its excellent work with young people giving them vital educational information on every day hazards, how to avoid them and the potential harm of risk taking behaviour.

“I look forward to seeing the projects develop and be delivered over the coming year and the difference they will make to the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities.”

All projects will be led by Northumbria Police.

Chief Constable Sue Sim added: “I share the Commissioner’s delight and these new and innovative projects will enable us to safeguard some of the most vulnerable people in our communities ensuring victims remain at the heart of everything we do.

“This will enable us to combine the experience of my operational officers and staff with the expertise of partner agencies to introduce a range of improvements and build on the excellent work we already have underway.

“For example, making court proceedings less daunting for children and vulnerable adults is a significant step forward, as is the additional work we will be able to carry out to support serial victims of domestic abuse.

“We are already leading the way in our approach to Operation Sanctuary where we are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to bring to justice those who target vulnerable women and girls and the extension of this approach can only serve to ensure our communities are no place for such crimes to take place.”