Sussex Police will once again be dedicating ‘Operation Cranberry’ patrols to respond to reports of domestic abuse over the Christmas and New Year period, with officers equipped with body-worn video cameras to help secure vital 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 that there are sufficient resources available to manage and respond to calls for urgent help.
The patrols began on Friday December 20 and continue up to and including Wednesday January 1.
Last year, police in Sussex were called to 982 incidents of reported domestic abuse from December 21 to January 2, an increase from 643 the previous year. 219 were subsequently recorded as involving specific criminal offences.
Detective Inspector Stuart Hale from the force’s Protecting Vulnerable People Branch said, “This is the fifth year running that we have operated extra force-wide patrols focusing on high risk victims of domestic abuse as we understand that the festive period can be a particularly difficult time for them.
“We have historically had peaks in the number of calls for help on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Victims can be assaulted or abused by their partners or other family members and many of the incidents the police 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. Our response officers use body worn cameras to increase the chance of gaining quality evidence and therefore do not just rely on the victim’s word against their abuser. There is a lot of support available for victims of domestic abuse and we are encouraging family, friends and neighbours to support victims by reporting this type of abuse to police.”
For the Cranberry patrols, teams of uniformed officers will work shifts dedicated to attending reports of domestic abuse as their sole priority over all other types of policing incidents.
For advice, support and further information about the Talk To Me campaign, visit www.sussex.police.uk or call 101. If people don’t want to talk to the police, can call East Sussex Domestic Abuse Service on 0844 225 0657.