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Police forces inc Herts, Beds, Northants and Thames Valley say they'll give more than a red card to anyone using the World Cup as an excuse for committing domestic violence.
In Northamptonshire, police who are supported by Northamptonshire Against Domestic Abuse (NADA) and the Community Safety Partnership, are sending out a clear message: domestic abuse is being shown the red card.
New materials featuring attention-grabbing images have been distributed to local outlets such as hospitals, doctor surgeries, colleges, pubs and clubs. They are also available at police station front offices and the offices of partner agencies.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Lingley, head of the force’s Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit, said: "Nationally there is evidence that the threat of domestic violence increases with major football tournaments. Football doesn't cause domestic abuse, but linked to increased alcohol consumption and the emotion sporting events bring it can impact upon some relationships.
This campaign serves as a warning to potential abusers that we will take positive action to protect victims, we will arrest offenders where a criminal offence has taken place and will seek to prosecute building the best possible case .
Our message to victims is that they do not have to put up with domestic abuse. Have the confidence to call as. Support is available from specially-trained officers and partners. There is no need for anyone to suffer in silence."
In Bedfordshire, Chief Inspector Greg Horsford said: "We have planned to have extra officers on duty for the initial group games because it’s likely the town centres are going to be very busy. The first group game also comes on a Saturday night at 11pm so that, combined with the regular weekend trade, will mean even more people out than usual.
More people means more police so officers will be noticeable, although they will be operating with a low-key, friendly approach. However, they will deal firmly with anyone who causes trouble."
In Hertfordshire, police say they're supporting agencies will always respond to reports of domestic abuse and, as with any disorder during the tournament, domestic abuse will not be tolerated.
A domestic abuse website called 'Herts Sunflower' has been launched by the police, county council and other partners to help offer support and advice for those experiencing domestic abuse.
If you or someone you know are in immediate danger from an abuser call 999.
Thames Valley Police have launched their "Watch your Game" campaign (using #WatchYourGame on Twitter)
The force says drink/drug operations will be conducted throughout the day and night across Milton Keynes and the Thames Valley force area.
Police say every driver involved in a collision will also be breathalysed and extra resources will be put in place with high visibility patrols in night time areas during matches.
Sunflower centre: www.northamptonshiresunflowercentre.org
Women’s Aid: www.northamptonwomensaid.org.uk
Victim Support: www.victimsupport.org.uk
Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse Forum:www.nordaf.co.uk
Hertfordshire Sunflower: www.hertssunflower.org
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