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Nottinghamshire Police praised for work to protect vulnerable people from exploitation during coronavirus pandemic in national report

A national report has praised Nottinghamshire Police for its work to protect vulnerable people from exploitation during the pandemic.

It found the force used the fall in demand in other crime types due to covid-19 restrictions to redeploy officers into safeguarding teams to bolster its online paedophile investigation capabilities.

The report, released by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) today (Tuesday), also found the force introduced measures to further educate officers and staff in spotting vulnerability in victims and how best to act.

Nottinghamshire Police (45114464)
Nottinghamshire Police (45114464)

Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: "Throughout the pandemic, I have been incredibly impressed with how Nottinghamshire Police officers and staff have responded with creativity and commitment to protecting the public.

"The way in which the public protection team adapted to ensure that the most vulnerable people in the city and county were kept safe is a prime example of how the force continued this commitment in the most challenging of circumstances.

"While other areas of the force saw a drop in the level of demand as a result of people staying indoors due to the pandemic, we knew that vulnerable people could still be targeted and that in some cases, reporting abuse could become more difficult as a result of the lockdowns.

"Our public protection team took the decrease in demand to redeploy staff to areas of that combat online paedophilia and other online crime types."

The report also highlighted the use of a series of internal vlogs made by frontline officers and staff on spotting the signs of abuse and how best to act quickly and appropriately. These were made working with the corporate communications department.

Mr Guildford added this, along with the virtual refresher training sessions, were vital in the protection of children and vulnerable people.

"These examples are just a part of how well we have policed the pandemic as a whole and I am pleased with the wider report that was released by HMICFRS today," he said.

"We have all had to adapt and I am really proud of how we have responded."

Based on an inspection of policing between March and November 2020, HMICFRS said in general police forces across England took immediate and decisive action to respond to the extreme circumstances of the pandemic.

Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said: "In these unprecedented times, the public looked to the police to continue to keep them safe and to keep order. While daily life substantially changed for the majority of us, the police were expected to continue to carry out their duties.

"Overall, the police rose to the challenge with dedication and commitment by taking immediate and decisive action to keep people safe and prevent crime, while also learning lessons from the rare occasions that they got it wrong.

"We know that police officers are on the frontline of covid-19, with some tragically losing their lives to the virus. I offer our condolences to all those who have lost relatives, friends or colleagues.

"We have made recommendations to help the police improve their response to the pandemic, and to prevent existing issues in policing being made worse. The police, the criminal justice system and government need to work together to solve these problems."

If you know someone who may be a victim of abuse or are aware of something suspicious, contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101. In an emergency dial 999.

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