As the follow-up Joint Review of Disability Hate Crime is published Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger and Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer vow to continue to deliver training to front line officers in recognising Disability Hate Crime issues and ensure their officers and staff have the required skills to offer on-going support.
In March 2013, the Chief Inspectors of the Criminal Justice Inspectorate published "Living in a Different World: Joint Review of Disability Hate Crime", their first review of how the Police, CPS and Probation Trusts dealt with disability hate crime. They urged proactive steps to be taken by these agencies to improve the service victims receive, and it made various recommendations to improve performance.
The follow up report from the Criminal Justice Joint Inspection, out yesterday (Thursday 21st May), includes an expectation that reporting of disability hate crime should increase. Although the follow up review did not look directly at Cleveland Police, the force is confident that reporting is going in the right direction, with a large increase in disabled people or their carers reporting hate crime.
In 2014/15, the force saw a 145% increase in reported disability hate incidents and 138% increase in reported disability hate crimes when compared with 2013/14.
A year ago, the Police and Crime Commissioner launched a 15-minute film as a training tool to show the true impact of crimes against disabled people. It addressed the levels of under-reporting across Teesside. The DVD enhanced our training to officers and staff.
PCC Barry Coppinger said: "We dealt with the issue head-on by raising awareness of ways in which to report crime. Incidents can take the form of name calling in the street, serious assaults, and deliberate deception of vulnerable people with disabilities – all of which are completely unacceptable and we felt it important that officers were able to identify where a crime has a disability hate element and how to raise awareness of reporting with victims, carers and families."
The Force’s Disability Support Network have worked closely with the Guide Dogs charity over the past two years to help overcome obstacles faced by those with impaired sight to provide the best possible service and have been extremely supportive of addressing improvements to aid victims.
Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer is proud the Street Triage Model developed in Cleveland to aid those with mental health issues has been given national recognition, with visits from other Forces and Mental Health Trusts keen to replicate the model stating: "The first Street Triage service whereby mental health nurses attended incidents alongside officers to assess the mental health of vulnerable people was launched in 2012 with the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. In the year to March 2015 the team assessed 361 people across Cleveland, with only 7 of these people (1.9%) detained under the mental health act.
"That speaks volumes for the success of the scheme - many of these people are not deemed to have a mental health issue requiring hospital treatment, but are often suffering low level issues with their mental health or other issues which make them potentially vulnerable – drug and alcohol use, housing and finance or relationship problems. Diverting these people from offending - with a focus on rehabilitation and preventing re-offending has been a key to the success of the project.
"We recently launched a multi-agency concordat which will ensure all agencies adhere to agreed practice when dealing with people with mental health issues.
"And Cleveland showcased its success at a Liaison &Diversion (L&D) event in Durham last month, where regional experts in policing, health, court and youth services met to share best practice to identify any gaps in provision so they can be addressed. Whilst L&D is in its early stages, the signs are promising with 97% of young people accepted - when offered - L&D services.
"In all, we have achieved a great deal in listening to what this sector of the community need and delivering on those needs – but we know there is still further work to be done to ensure those who require our support most are given it – we will continue to work with our partners through the concordat to ensure these needs are met."
Click here to view the"Joint Review of Disability Hate Crime - Follow Up" by HMIC, HMCPSI and HMI Probation
Posted on Friday 22nd May 2015