Vulnerability Investigation Team (VIT)
The Committee received a presentation from the two inspectors from Kent Police giving Members clarity and understanding of the work and roles of officers within the recently formed VIT (dedicated team to increase early identification of vulnerable children and adults/vulnerable victims of ASB/crime and provide them with tailored interventions). (Please see supplementary for PowerPoint presentation).
Following Members questions and comments, the Detective Inspector and Inspector, Kent Police explained that:
· Crimes are dealt with in their specialist teams for each area, so a case involving domestic abuse would be handled by a domestic team with officers who are trained to deal with the victims and investigate the crime. An officer might also work with an officer in a different area if the original crime has links to something else
· On the matter of underage children sharing explicit images with each other, it has to be recorded an offence under Police guidelines but it is down to the officer dealing with it whether or not there is a case for prosecution. The Police do not want to criminalise all children and have it impact them in later life, ways will be looked at as tothe most appropriate action to take; , ultimately it is a judgment call to the officer if it is a case of exploitation or experimentation etc
· The VIT team was formed in September; prior to September the majority of crimes were dealt with by a common officer but now there are specialist officers that are trained to the requisite level to deal with specific types of crimes, the load is shared out much better with officers training tailored to the crimes
· There is always a specialist response and often intermediaries are used for the cases where there is sensitivity, language barriers and disabilities as the intermediary helps to build trust between the Police and the victim. The team will help the victims in any way that they can using various different techniques but no matter the disability or nature of the victim there will always be help suitable for them made available
· Once a crime has been reported, that suspect’s name will be listed and it will only be removed once there has been evidence to disapprove the crime
· If a member of the public calls 101 and their report is suspected to be malicious,, there will absolutely be a response from one of the Police Teams whose job it is to investigate the claims and seek out evidence of any possible crime
The officers advised that if Members wanted to help and support the issue of children not being criminalised for the explicit images sharing then they should pen a letter to the Home Office who have control and are able to change current legislation. Members asked that also included in the letter is the request that anonymity for the suspects in sexual abuse cases be the same for victims in that no names are released until proven guilty as people’s lives have been destroyed following false sexual abuse allegation.
The Service Manager (Economic Development) advised that a letter about the aforementioned issues can be drafted and sent to the Home Office. It will need to be sent in the name of the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Community Safety. A letter can be reported back to Committee Members.
The Committee thanked the officers for an informative presentation.