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PCC welcomes VAWG strategy

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PCC Matthew Barber has welcomed the publication of the new strategy which has been published following a special ‘week of action’ in March.

He said: “I welcome today’s publication of the Violence Against Women and Girls Delivery Plan from Thames Valley Police. In line with the Do the Right Thing campaign, which I have just launched across the Thames Valley, the delivery plan highlights the vital work which needs to be done in an area which is important to all of us.

“As Police and Crime Commissioner, I’ll continue to ensure Thames Valley Police focus on tackling domestic abuse, improving safety for women in public spaces and work to improve outcomes when dealing with rape and sexual assaults.”

The strategy explains how Thames Valley Police will better tackle violence against women and girls, recognising the critical role that the force plays in preventing harm to women and girls and bringing offenders to justice.

Chief Superintendent Katy Barrow-Grint, force lead for Violence Against Women and Girls, said: “Violence Against Women and Girls is a priority for the force and I am proud to be publishing this plan today – our first ever strategy solely focused on tackling this issue. 

“Our strategy sets out our objectives for dealing with perpetrators and working with partners to identify sexual and violent offending at the earliest opportunity. It also demonstrates our commitment to listening to the experiences of women and girls and maintaining excellent victim care to those who find themselves navigating the criminal justice system.

“We are determined to do the very best for girls, women, communities, our staff and the people we work with and this strategy sets out how we will do this, compassionately and resolutely.”

Prior to the launch of the strategy Thames Valley Police carried out a ‘week of action’ focused on Violence Against Women and Girls. From March 21-28, officers from across the Thames Valley visited schools, colleges and universities to promote conversations on consent and carried out special operations targeting predatory behaviour.

C/Superintendent Barrow-Grint added: “This week of action has shown what fantastic work our officers and staff are doing across the force to put a stop to violence against women and girls and to look after and protect our victims. 

“Throughout the week we made over 50 arrests, also stopping 31 men for predatory behaviour. Officers also went into schools and colleges, licensed premises and carried out public engagement events to help educate men and women on their behaviours.”

In Reading, teams used plain clothed patrols in an area where a male had recently been exposing himself, leading to officers identifying and arresting the suspect.

In Milton Keynes plain clothed officers identified a possible domestic in progress, leading to an intervention and domestic abuse arrest.

The team in Oxford located and arrested an outstanding stalker that had targeted a female online and followed her to her workplace and home address. He was arrested with a knife in his possession.

In West Berkshire 12 information and engagement events were held across hotels, children’s homes and licensed premises.

There were a total of:

  • 52 arrests by dedicated Violence Against Women and Girls arrest teams
  • 22 ‘Project Vigilant’ deployments across the force resulting in 31 men being stopped for predatory behaviour in the night time economy. This includes four areas using the tactic for the first time. Project Vigilant is an initiative that uses a combination of uniformed and plain clothed officers to carry out patrols in areas outside night clubs, bars and pubs, to identify people who may be displaying signs of predatory behaviour, such as sexual harassment, inappropriate touching and loitering.
  • 51 Violence Against Women and Girls incidents attended by dedicated response officers
  • 46 public engagement events ranging from stands in town centres to events at hotels
  • 159 victim engagements, including proactive visits to existing victims with partner agencies
  • 38 educational inputs at schools and colleges with a focus on consent, public confidence in policing and our response
  • 90 licensing visits to licensed premises across the force in the night time economy

More information can be found on Thames Valley Police’s website.