Brent’s top cop addresses domestic violence in the borough

Matt Gardner, Brent Police Borough Commander

Matt Gardner, Brent Police Borough Commander - Credit: Archant

After a short break Chief Superintendent Matt Gardner, Brent Police borough commander, is back with his weekly column.

“This week I would like to talk about a topic that affects a very high proportion of households across the entire UK - Domestic violence.

“This is a crime type which victims often feel very difficult to report for a variety of reasons including , feeling isolated , not wanting to end a long term relationship, not wanting to split a family unit in which children can be affected. Sometimes they simply ‘put up with it’ often feeling that there is ‘no way out’.

“To demonstrate our commitment to this crime type Brent Police have recently restructured and invested in thirty detectives to form a brand new community Safety Unit responsible for investigating domestic violence and hate crime. This is one of the biggest units across London.

“We are working closely with our partners, including the Crown Prosecution Service, to enhance the service given to victims and to improve evidence which will secure prosecutions in this area. Quite often victims of domestic violence will not wish to pursue a case or will not have the confidence or courage to do so as the criminal justice system and seem quite daunting. This closer working will improve the care provided to victims and give them the confidence to pursue allegations.

“In addition we are now pursuing ‘victimless’ prosecutions. This means that perpetrators will be brought before the courts even where the victim does not wish to pursue it. The authorities will, in certain circumstances, make the decision for the victim. To support these prosecutions and improve our evidence gathering techniques we have explored new technology and innovative methods of securing and collecting evidence. These new methods will shortly be tested.

“Brent Police have also identified the key domestic violence offenders living in our borough. A zero tolerance approach will be taken in relation to them. They will shortly receive letters from my officers explaining what this means and the implications if they continue with this type of offending.

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“Finally there are independent domestic violence advocates who work very closely with the police and are based at the Police Station. They can provide additional support and guidance to victims which is separate to that which the police provide.

“My key message here is: If you are committing this crime type then be assured that every element of the criminal justice system will be diverted towards you.

If you are a victim do not put up with it, there truly is a way out. Contact Brent Community Safety Unit or one of the many voluntary agencies that can provide advice and support.

“As ever, if you have any information on crime matters, tell us and we will act. You can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, dial 101 to speak to police, or contact your local SNT via the MPS website In an emergency, always call 999. For daily updates and information about what is happening in Brent, you can follow us on Twitter at @MPSBrent. Any suspicious activity can be reported anonymously and confidentially to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. No piece of information is too small, no genuine call is a waste of time. Don’t rely on others: if you suspect it, report it.

“Thank you for your continued support.”