The Vulnerability Equation
Vulnerable is one of the most frequently used words in policing today. The words vulnerable and vulnerability appear in HMIC’s 2016 State of Policing report 75 times.
How policing deals with vulnerable people and how it manages the demand from vulnerability are some of the most critical issues facing the service today.
This morning I will attempt, for the first time, to look at the totality of risk of vulnerable people in our society and our capacity to deal with them. It will be represented in a crude equation of demand and supply – but will attempt to give an idea of the scale of the problem. Let’s break this down to the key areas of vulnerability……
Honour Based Abuse
There are 10-12 honour killings per year in the UK. This does not include offences where people and children are taken abroad and where we lose knowledge of their whereabouts. It does not cover the threats, control over freedom and other offences that mask the true extent of this hidden crime type.
However, I am extremely confident we can deal with this as we have 123,000 police officers
It’s estimated that there are 8000-10000 Forced Marriages a year – that’s on average 25 a day.
The Forced Marriage Unit responded to over 1400 reports of possible forced marriages.
I am very very confident we have the capability to cope with this demand with 123,000 police officers
Forced labour, servitude and slavery.
It is estimated that there are 10-13,000 victims of modern slavery today and over 300 policing operations currently ongoing to deal with the emerging problem
I am very confident we can deal with it with 123,000 police officers.
Hate crime can relate to race, sexual orientation, religion, disability and transgender.
Police record about 62,000 hate crimes in a year.
I am reasonably confident we can deal with this having 123,000 police officers
Child victims of abuse and sexual exploitation
NSPCC report that 58,000 children were identified as needing protection from abuse in the UK in 2016.
One in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused.
I am relatively confident we can deal with this because we have 123,000 police officers.
Female genital mutilation
It is estimated that 137,000 girls have undergone FGM and 60,000 girls are at risk in the UK.
However, I am confident we can deal with it as we have 123,000 police officers
Domestic abuse victims
Over 100 women and 30 men are murdered every year.
Domestic abuse accounts for 8% of all crime recorded.
It will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men.
On average it is not reported until the 35th occasion.
I think this is achievable as we have 123,000 police officers to deal with this.
Victims of sexual offences
Rape Crisis centres respond to an average of 3,000 calls a week.
58,000 individuals receive a rape crisis service.
Police record 24,000 reports of an adult being raped.
I think we should be able to deal with this with 123,000 police officers.
A report estimates 70,000 people are acting as prostitutes in the UK
On average five sex workers are murdered every year.
I am pretty sure we can cope (can’t we?) with our 123,000 police officers.
2015-16 there were 103,000 individuals with enquiries under Section 42 of the Care Act. That is about neglect, acts of omission and physical abuse.
I think we may struggle to deal despite having 123,000 police officers
300,000 people are reported missing to the police each year.
I think we could try our best to deal with our 123,000 police officers.
Stalking and harassment
The British Crime Survey estimated that 700,000 women are stalked each year.
ONS estimate that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 12 men will suffer in their lifetime.
CPS prosecute approximately 700 stalking offences and 10,000 harassment offences each year.
I am sure we will do our best to help the victims with our 123,000 police officers.
Finally, people suffering with mental health
28,000 people were detained under S136 in England and Wales in 2015/16.
The College of Policing estimate 4 million mental health related incidents every year
I am not sure we can cope even with 123,000 police officers….
All this and I have not included
Serious and Organised Crime,
Traditional crimes of theft and burglary
Traditional crime that are rising – such as knife crime and firearms.
Event management …sporting events….community engagement….. the list goes on.
This vulnerability equation is not stacking up at all
….but one thing is clear for me when you look at the whole picture….
Demand divided by the resource capability of the service is a vulnerability crisis.
Clearly there is more here than the police can manage, so, we will need to look at new approaches and ways of addressing the totality of the problem
But let’s look at the equation another way…
If we engage all public services more effectively and focus on vulnerability – doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, fire officers and anyone in from the public Services that is involved in direct public contact…
Then, it is not 123,000 dealing with this, we will have 5.4m
If we need to engage and give more support charities and the superb voluntary sector
Then, it is not 123,000 dealing with this, we will have a total of 17m people dealing with this.
If we can help the public have a greater understanding of the risk and embrace preventative ways to frustrate the criminals’ activities and minimise the risks to their families, friends or their communities…
Then, it is not 123,000 dealing with this, we will have 65m dealing with this.
In the words of Henry Ford:
Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.
Never has it been so important to have a ‘one public service’ approach. I urge the Government to demonstrate a drive to bring down departmental tensions and silos that are hindering a genuine problem solving approach, and mandate all partners and agencies to work together on this issue.
And never has it been so important to mobilise the public to prevent vulnerable people becoming victims and to help those in our society who are most at risk.
That is how we tip the scales against those who take advantage of the people who need us the most.