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Police chief expects rise in child sexual abuse as lockdown eases further

PUBLISHED: 18:00 18 June 2020

Chief constable of Norfolk Police Simon Bailey featured in the third instalment of the Eastern Daily Press' Norfolk Talks series. Picture: Denise Bradley

Chief constable of Norfolk Police Simon Bailey featured in the third instalment of the Eastern Daily Press' Norfolk Talks series. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

Norfolk’s most senior police officer expects to see a rise in so-called “hidden crimes” as the county comes out of lockdown, including the likes of domestic abuse, child sexual abuse and modern slavery.

Chief constable Simon Bailey has said Norfolk Police are changing the way they operate to make sure officers are “prepared to deal with it” if such a spike occurs.

Mr Bailey made the claim when featuring in the third instalment of the Eastern Daily Press’ Norfolk Talks series.

He said: “I joined the Prime Minister in a Zoom conference looking at hidden crimes, in particular domestic abuse, child sexual abuse and exploitation and modern slavery. Domestic abuse is up nationally by about four per cent, whilst reports of child sexual abuse and exploitation and modern slavery are down.

“None of those statistics come as a great surprise to me but what I do anticipate is that, as we ease further out of lockdown, we are going to see a significant uplift in the number of reports of domestic abuse, child sexual abuse and modern slavery. I think it is absolutely inevitable, and we have to be prepared to be able to deal with it.

“So we are now starting to prepare for that recovery mode and the transformation of the organisation which is inevitably going to follow as we come out of crisis.”

The chief constable said the force was looking into the potential increases in these crimes and is working to “ensure we do our level best to provide victims with the confidence to come forward and to ensure they get the best possible service that we can provide”.

Mr Bailey also discussed what he believes the future of policing in the county might look like, while revealing how a flexible working pattern during lockdown has had a positive impact on his employees.

“As an organisation we have encouraged remote working from home, and it has worked particularly well. My staff have adopted new techniques, new approaches to working, we’ve provided them with the flexibility to be able to work efficiently and effectively and we have seen some outstanding results.

“I don’t think it is any coincidence that the sickness level – which currently stand at 3.6pc – is as low as it has been in a long, long time.”


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