Bedfordshire Police’s specialist domestic abuse team secured eight charges in 24 hours as officers back a national week of action raising awareness of sexual violence and abuse.
The force’s Emerald unit secured charges such as assault by beating and coercive control as part of a wave of enforcement action against perpetrators of separate incidents across the county.
As a result, four perpetrators were remanded into custody, and one was handed a caution with rehabilitation support.
Bedfordshire Police has a significant focus on holding perpetrators accountable and making the community safer for women in a bid to tackle male violence against women and girls (MVAWG).
This work coincides with the start of It’s Not Okay, week which launched on Monday (6 February) to raise awareness around rape and sexual abuse as well as the support available.
During It’s Not Okay week, the force is promoting Project Firefly, a dedicated operation run jointly with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Streets project to ensure women no longer face unacceptable behaviour in places like pubs and clubs.
The project includes specialist training for officers as well as licensed premises, an increased police presence and an education piece aimed at perpetrator behaviour. Bedfordshire Police will have several officers deployed on Friday in Luton for a Firefly operation.
More than 20 licensed premises in the county have received training so far, with positive feedback from all the venues.
Yesterday (Tuesday), Bedfordshire Police’s MVAWG leads and the Safer Streets programme appeared on Luton Urban Radio to have an open and honest conversation around women’s safety, police perception and the ongoing work the force is doing to create a safer environment for women and girls.
Detective Chief Superintendent Dee Perkins, Bedfordshire Police’s MVAWG lead, said: “It’s Not Okay week has fallen at a time where cases like David Carrick have highlighted sexual predators in policing and the need for us to root out this behaviour and ensure the highest standards from our officers and staff.
“This case reinstates the reasons we need to rebuild trust and confidence to focus on anyone who commits violence or abuse against women and girls.
“In Bedfordshire, we remain committed to tackling MVAWG, with a number of initiatives and projects at the forefront of the work we do in order to create a safer environment for women and girls across Bedfordshire
“We will continue to raise awareness about sexual abuse and violence, and encourage victims to report to us, but we cannot emphasise strongly enough that our message to offenders is that no means no.”
Bedfordshire PCC Festus Akinbusoye said: “I am proud of the work, focus and investment Bedfordshire Police and my staff have on improving women’s safety in the county.
“I am holding the Chief Constable to account around upholding the highest standards among police officers and staff, and have been able to put extra investment into the Professional Standards Department to ensure things like vetting and misconduct investigations are better resourced.
“The Safer Streets violence against women and girls project is also doing a huge amount of education, prevention and awareness raising to shift attitudes among potential perpetrators and ensure women walking our streets can feel much safer.
“I am heartened to see this excellent work continue during It’s Not Ok week and beyond.”
Bedfordshire Police remain committed to tackling allforms of abuse, supporting victims of any gender and tackling both male and female offenders.