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Police in Newcastle Using Body Cams

19th December 2014

Police in Newcastle are using new technology to enhance the service given to victims of domestic violence.

Thanks to Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, officers are using body worn video cameras to record footage when dealing with incidents, improving evidence gathering to be used in any future criminal proceedings which will bring more offenders to justice.

Officers are also being supported by new Domestic Violence Sexual Assault (DVSA) worker Jessica Welch.

Jessica, who is based at Newcastle Area Command, brings with her a wealth of experience having previously worked as an independent domestic violence advisor with Victim Support for high risk victims to homicides.

Jessica will work with officers to again enhance the service provided to domestic violence victims while helping to reduce repeat victims.

She will support officers with the development of harm reduction plans and provide specialist advice on other issues such as honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, LGB&T domestic violence and stalking.

Her appointment also supports the continued work of the DVSA volunteers who accompany officers on patrol on Friday and Saturday nights to give further specialist support to victims.

The new additions come as the Northumbria Police campaign to tackle domestic violence continues. Entitled ‘Children can learn by example’, it looks at the affect domestic violence has on children growing up in that environment.

All have been made possible through funding from the Commissioner Vera Baird following a similar successful pilot in Sunderland Area Command with body cams and joint patrols with Wearside Women in Need.

The Commissioner said: “I’m delighted this is now up and running in Newcastle after working so well in Sunderland.

“The response rate by people seeking a route to safety has grown to more than 50% when a support worker attends with an officer who is dealing with the perpetrator.

“This is a priority of the region-wide Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and the work Jessica will be doing will help to bring early intervention and support to vulnerable people when they need it.”

Chief Inspector Steve Hails, from Newcastle Area Command, said: “The introduction of the body cams demonstrates our continued commitment to ensuring those responsible for acts of domestic violence are apprehended and put before the courts.

“The evidence gathered can be used in criminal proceedings to bring offenders to justice.

“It’s equally important victims know there is support out there to help them.

“The introduction of Jessica as the DVSA worker, supports the ongoing work of DVSA volunteers offering those victims encouragement to talk about their situation, giving them a voice to stand up to end the cycle of abuse they suffer.

“We would urge anyone suffering from domestic violence not to stay silent and seek the help available to them.”

Anyone suffering abuse can call 0800 066 5555 for independent and confidential advice.

To change abusive behaviour, call Respect on 0808 802 4040.

In an emergency, call 999 or to speak to your local Neighbourhood Policing Team call 101, extension 69191.

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