Clare's Law in the spotlight on 24 Hours in Police Custody
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A police scheme where people can request information about partners they suspect of being violent or abusive in the past is set to feature in tonight’s episode of 24 Hours in Police Custody.
The Channel 4 documentary will focus on Bedfordshire Police’s pursuit of Kye Dell, who was jailed for grooming and sexually abusing a teenage girl.
The episode features detectives from the force’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) team speaking to Dell’s current partner at the time of filming and disclosing his criminal convictions.
This follows a request by her through Clare’s Law, or the domestic violence disclosure scheme.
Under the scheme an individual or relevant third party such as a family member can ask the police to check whether a current partner has a violent or abusive past.
If records show that an individual may be at risk of domestic abuse from a partner, the police will consider disclosing the information.
Police can also consider proactively notifying someone under the scheme if they have concerns for their safety.
Bedfordshire Police has made almost 100 disclosures for information over the past 12 months and, in the final week of the national 16 Days of Action to tackle domestic abuse, officers are encouraging people to come forward if they have concerns.
Detective Chief Inspector Craig Laws from Bedfordshire Police said: “This episode of 24 Hours is a powerful illustration of Clare’s Law in action.
“Throughout the programme his current partner speaks positively about Dell and his treatment of her, but is disgusted by the criminal behaviour and abuse disclosed by our detectives.
“We know how difficult it can be for people in abusive relationships. These are often fraught with emotions and complex pasts, plus many abusers will use psychological manipulation and grooming to make a victim feel trapped and powerless.
“In the domestic abuse team, we have specially trained victim engagement officers who will disclose the information to victims in a safe and secure environment, away from the perpetrator, and will then work with the victim on their individual safeguarding or support needs.
“There is no obligation to leave a partner following a disclosure, and the support provided remains open to when and if a victim is ready to reach out and access it.
“Clare’s Law is there to help you make informed choices, so if you have concerns about someone, please get in touch.
“This is just one way we are trying to support victims in Bedfordshire.”
In tonight's episode Dell's partner has her identity protected using technology which alters things like her voice and appearance.
PC Heather Hutchinson, a specialist trained officer in Bedfordshire Police’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences team, who features in this evening's episode, said: "In this particular case, the offender was in his 20s, but pertaining to be younger.
"At first glance, he doesn’t look like a predator, but was meeting with countless young girls, subjecting them to sexual assault and violence, encouraging them to send explicit photographs, infiltrating their homes and grooming their family members by building that trust so he could plan his attack and move onto the next victim.
“Sexual violence starts long before we think it does and encouraging young girls to send explicit photographs of themselves can be the start of something more sinister.
"Due to the sensitive and complex nature of serious sexual offences, detectives will drive the investigation and work closely with specialist trained officers and victim engagement officers to provide an enhanced service to the victim.
"We will listen and we will act, so please have the confidence to come forward."