SUSSEX Police will once again be dedicating Operation Cranberry patrols to respond to reports of domestic abuse over the festive and New Year period, with officers equipped with body-worn video cameras to help secure evidence.
Domestic abuse is always treated as a priority by the force, but due to the regular increase in incidents throughout the festive season it is vital there are sufficient resources available to manage and respond to calls for urgent help
The patrols will continue until January 2.
Last year, police in Sussex were called to 758 incidents of reported domestic abuse from 23 December to 2 January.
Detective Sergeant Daniel Dugan from the force’s Specialist Crime Directorate, said; “This is the third year that we have operated these force-wide patrols and we anticipate that certain days will be particularly busy with calls for help, such as New Year’s Day. Victims can be assaulted by their partners or other family members and many of the incidents we have attended in the past have been extremely violent.
“The increase over this period is often down to higher alcohol consumption, combined with families spending more time than usual with each other. Relationships which are potentially abusive may come to a head at this time.”
Every day of the campaign, teams of uniformed officers will work a dedicated shift to attend incidents of domestic abuse as their sole priority over all other types of policing incidents.
Officers working on Operation Cranberry will also be kept-up to-date by intelligence briefings about victims who may be particularly vulnerable, and about specific offenders who may pose a higher risk. In addition to officers attending the homes of victims, teams of specialist detectives can carry out follow-up investigations into domestic abuse crimes.
Detective Sergeant Dugan added; “In previous Op Cranberry campaign, officers commented that they felt the benefit of having even more time to dedicate to victims which enabled them to provide better reassurance and gather more evidence.
“It is a sad reality that some people experience abuse repeatedly and there will be some cases where there is a particularly high risk of abuse occurring over the Christmas period. Operation Cranberry officers will also carry out regular checks on and visits to high risk victims identified by our specialist investigators, helping keep them safe and reassured in the knowledge that police actively seek to prevent repeat abuse.”
In West Sussex extra support and advice for domestic abuse victims is available. RISE (Refuge, Information, Support and Education) runs the only helpline local to Sussex. Contact Naomi Bos on 01273 622822 or visit www.riseuk.org.uk.
In West Sussex the Worth Services independent domestic abuse advisory services can be contacted on 07834 968539 or via http://www.worthservices.org.