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Tackling domestic abuse is an 'absolute priority' for West Midlands Police

Domestic abuse is an "absolute priority" for West Midlands Police to tackle amid coronavirus, a top police official has said.

Domestic abuse cases in the West Midlands have increased

Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine said tackling the issue was a "force priority" as more cases were reported.

And she said the force was working extremely hard with other partners to ensure victims receive the right support.

Ms Jardine said: "Domestic abuse remains a force mission or us which means it's an absolutely priority for us to ensure our services are direct and targeted against domestic abuse.

"We've worked very hard to maintain the confidence of our victims and we've worked with our partners in relation to that – and to make sure their safety is our priority."

Cases of domestic abuse is following an "upwards trend" – as it did throughout the last year – with offences in May higher than the Christmas week, a traditional seasonal spike period.

A report to the Strategic Policing and Crime Board said: "Increased incidents of domestic abuse are still likely whilst there restrictions are in place.

"As the restrictions begin to relax there will be an increase in reporting of incidents and this is being evidenced.

"Offences usually see a significant seasonal peak in July however, currently offences have consistently risen from December.

"Much of the increase has been driven by efforts to increase the accuracy of crime recording so the usual seasonal rise would still also be anticipated.

"However, the usual drivers of a summer peak (school holidays, more time at home, hot weather and alcohol consumption) have already been experienced for a period over lockdown, which may flatten out offending over the summer period."

David Jamieson, Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, said: " "Domestic abuse cases are continuing to rise, in part down to a large campaign we have led to encourage victims to come forward. I want to reassure victims that they will be taken seriously and domestic abuse is a major priority for West Midlands Police.

"West Midlands Police is closely examining crime trends and likely crime changes as the lockdown eases.

" I remain of the view that unless the Government moves quickly to bring in a raft of job retention schemes to guarantee opportunities for young people, we risk a summer of unrest."

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