HUNDREDS of more families in Gwent have been offered support thanks to a programme which has transformed the way in which police respond to vulnerable people.
The Early Action Together Programme (EATP) team within Gwent Police have been working with officers and partners since early 2018 to enhance our approach to early intervention when adverse childhood experiences are evident.
The programme is a national initiative between the four Welsh police services and Public Health Wales. It applies a Public Health approach to policing and utilises the adverse childhood experience (ACEs) research to provide a trauma-informed individual response to vulnerable people.
ACEs are traumatic or stressful experiences that occur before the age of 18, which have an impact on us as adults. Importantly, ACEs include harm caused by the environment and household in which children and young people are brought up.
ACEs include being physically, emotionally or sexually abused as a child or growing up in a house with domestic violence, mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse and parental incarceration.
The evidence shows that children who experience these ACEs are much more likely to perform poorly in school, and significantly for us in policing, they are more likely to be involved in crime.
In recent years, our workload has become more challenging in policing. There is a growing shift towards managing complex welfare public safety and vulnerability issues. Vulnerability and serious organised crime present a significant and changing demand for us, much of which is underpinned by ACEs.
In Gwent, since 2018, the programme has:
- Provided 1,300 officers with ACEs training
- Implemented two Early Intervention and Prevention Pilots in Blaenau Gwent and Newport
- Families are being offered help and support earlier
Assistant Chief Constable Rhiannon Kirk, strategic lead for the Gwent programme, said: “The police are often the first agency to be in contact with children or families in need of help, through early intervention and working together with our partners, our aim is to prevent problems before they escalate. I am delighted at the progress that has been made so far to enhance how Gwent Police respond and support the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
Jeff Cuthbert, the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner, outlines his commitment and said: “It is essential that we continue to collaborate with our partners to maintain a shared focus and commitment to developing and investing in our approaches to early intervention.”
To showcase the difference the programme has made to the lives and experiences of police officers and people in Gwent and demonstrate what is planned for the future, the Gwent delivery team has developed a short two minutes video.