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GMP’s Operation Horizon: a multi-agency approach to domestic abuse

GMP’s Operation Horizon was established during the pandemic when the force had to re-think how they engaged with domestic abuse victims.

Every Thursday, an officer from GMP’s Adult Safeguarding Unit and a member of Trafford Domestic Abuse Services [TDAS] make proactive visits to victims of domestic abuse. 

They average at around 6 -7 visits per shift and look to check in on the victim’s safety, establish ‘trigger plans’ so that the victim has a route of action for whenever they feel unsafe, as well as encourage them to engage with services. They can also give them phones so that they can contact services in future if they don’t already have that resource. 

The partnership has been going for a year and the team have secured extra funding to expand that by the summer to have an additional unit going out and making visits. To date, they have visited around 150 victims and they’ve reduced repeat domestic abuse by around 30 per cent. 

Each Wednesday, the force holds a ‘Marac’ meeting where victims who are potentially at high risk are identified - these individuals will then be visited the following day. Particularly high risk individuals may also get a visit on Tuesdays. 

Detective Sergeant Louise Haslam is the lead for Operation Horizon. 

She told Police Oracle: “I feel if we're more preventative to DA rather than reactive, yes, it [can be a pressure on resources], but ultimately if we're stopping it in the first place, we're going to feel that benefit months down the line. 

“I am all for being proactive around domestic abuse, and we're trialling so many new things.

“For example, I've now got housing involved in Trafford district. We've had some really successful outcomes where we've gone out with housing, because they have that relationship with the tenant already - and we kind of jumped on board on that visit.” 

DS Haslam explained that as a consequence they have also managed to get some housing injunctions in place. In a situation where DVPOs are not being adhered to, this tool can be used to stop certain parties attending addresses. 

“If that injunction is breached, then the housing can effectively evict that tenant. It’s an extra tool for when we've failed everywhere else. And that's what we're trying to do now is really kind of think outside the usual box of ‘they’re on bail’, or ‘we’ve got a DVP order,’” she explained. 

She also gave a recent example where they had been unable to reach a certain victim, but through co-ordination with the GP they were able to contact them while they were at the surgery. 

The officer that goes on the visits does not wear a uniform and they go in a unmarked vehicle - reducing any apprehension from the victim and re-inforcing that the purpose of the operation is safeguarding. 

She said that TDAS had initially been concerned over the impact such a partnership may have on their relationship with victims and whether an association with the police might drive victims away from accessing their services. 

“It has really benefited the police because the victims are seeing us in a different light, they’re seeing us whether domestic abuse service,” DS Haslam said. 

“One of the big things that's come out is our Clare's law disclosures [averaging around 30 disclosures per month]. Through our partnership working, we've made everybody aware of it and how it works [...] We've stopped a lot of relationships before they even started.” 

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