The investigation of domestic crime and serious sexual offences in Bedfordshire will be led by a new specialist team committed to protecting victims.
The new team will unite the investigation of domestic and serious sexual offences – crime types which can often share characteristics including inter-relationship abuse, vulnerability, breach of trust and repeat victimisation.
Domestic crime and sexual offences also exist within a broader culture of misconceptions and under-reporting, which the team are keen to influence.
Currently, domestic and serious sexual offences account for more than one in every 10 crimes recorded by Bedfordshire Police, showing the necessity to create a team which will have hubs in the north and south of county, with two detective inspectors maintaining thematic oversight of each crime type.
Detective chief inspector John Murphy, who will oversee the team, said: “Both domestic crime and sexual offences require a similar investigation approach and support skills.
“We are increasing and bringing together specialist resources, creating a larger, dedicated response with the right skills to improve the way we tackle these highly distressing crimes.
“A core role of the specialists within the team will be to ensure the highest level of victim care, providing a professional service in order to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
“We recognise the damaging impact that both domestic crimes and serious sexual offences including rape can have on survivors – and we are committed to improving the victim experience and increasing our positive outcomes.
“Our Emerald team is accessible, approachable and above all highly trained to deal with these offences, with a greater focus and better-placed resource for the force as a whole.”
The Emerald team aims to become an asset to the force, to victims and the wider public, with the name connoting new beginnings and future prospects.
The name is also shared by a key local partner of the force – Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), the Emerald Centre.
Detective chief superintendent Jackie Sebire, said: “The creation of a dedicated team provides a great opportunity for Bedfordshire Police to enhance the service provided to victims of such serious crimes.
“We know that many of these offences can have serious and long-lasting effects, and the Emerald team working together with partners will ensure protection and support for victims and robust prosecution of offenders.”
Victims of domestic or sexual offences can report their experience to police on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.
You can also contact Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) the Emerald Centre, by visiting www.emeraldcentre.org.