Joint venture helps victims

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VICTIMS at risk of domestic violence in Leigh are now promised more protection.

A borough-wide partnership tasked with improving services was launched in the borough this week.

The council is joining together with partners Wigan and Leigh Housing, Greater Manchester Police, Children’s social care, Probation, Drug and Alcohol services plus Independent Domestic Violent Advocate worker teams.

All pledge to provide an efficient and effective service, leading to more positive outcomes for victims of domestic abuse.

The new Integrated Safeguarding and Public Protection team (ISAPP) - which will be based at Bamfurlong Police Station - will share information, jointly risk assess, plan and effectively manage domestic abuse cases to prevent abuse escalating and causing serious harm to victims and their children.

It will also work with offenders of domestic abuse, signposting them into treatment or care pathways to prevent them from re-offending.

Using the information gathered, front line officers will respond to the issues “highlighted on a daily basis” through home visits to help victims, and then “sign-post” them to the appropriate agency for help and support.

Building Stronger Communities Partnership board member Coun Kevin Anderson said the new partnership was “good news” for the borough. But the move hasn’t met with universal support and has left GMP denying that up to 30 front line officers from Hindley L3 division have been relocated to Leigh Police Station specifically to accommodate the new ISAPP personnel at seven year old Bamfurlong station, which replaced a number of smaller Victorian stations such as Ashton and New Springs that were closed on grounds of economy.

The force refuted claims from a worried councillor that this meant it was quitting Bamfurlong police deployment centre, which only opened in 2005. Borough police bosses said that its officers would still use Bamfurlong as a “base to work from”, but relocating the ISAPP team into the police station it would mean a more efficient and cost-effective way of sharing practices and resources.

Wigan Divisional Commander, Chief Supt Shaun Donnellan, said: “The force has been going through a series of changes to improve the service and this includes looking at co-location and collaboration with our partners.

“As part of this work Bamfurlong Police Post will now also be home to officers from GMP’s Public Protection Division as well as members of the Council’s Safeguarding Team. By working together these teams are now able to improve shared practices, resources and intelligence which in turn benefits our most vulnerable members of the Wigan community. GMP is committed to neighbourhood policing which is why our officers will remain operational in the area.”