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Within each police force individual responsibilities are clearly defined:
- The Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner make the initial commitment to the Operation Encompass scheme, for which a member of the Senior Management Team takes on strategic responsibility.
- An officer of appropriate responsibility is appointed as police lead to oversee implementation of Operation Encompass by the force, and to direct associated policies. This officer ensures effective delivery of Operation Encompass as directed by the Home Office and identifies the most effective method of communicating with schools ahead of the school day.
- The force briefs every school's Designated Safeguarding Leads - Operation Encompass provides the appropriate teaching materials. These briefings ensure that the highly confidential information the police supply to the DSL is treated with appropriate care and sensitivity, in situations which are frequently rapidly evolving.
- The force maintains up-to-date contact details for all DSLs trained in Operation Encompass procedures.
- All frontline officers within the force are fully trained in Operation Encompass - its purpose, when to apply it and how to apply it correctly.
- The force provides a letter template to schools, used to inform parents of the school's participation in the scheme.
- The force records the number of children supported and shares this data with the Operation Encompass charity.
A proven partnership
The partnership between Operation Encompass and Devon and Cornwall Police has proven to be an essential element for the safeguarding of children and young people experiencing domestic abuse.
Children exposed to domestic abuse are amongst the most vulnerable in our society, often harmed physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Having been exposed to domestic violence, a child goes to school the next day often requiring urgent emotional help and assurance but unable to express what they have witnessed and the support they need.
Operation Encompass is vital to ensuring the true partnership required to safeguard these children, ensuring that police and schools deliver the necessary support at the right time. This is in the hours immediately after exposure to the incident and that information must be available in schools at the right time in order to help children and young people overcome the traumatic events they have been exposed to.
If there is a true intention to help children exposed to domestic abuse then Operation Encompass is a proven approach to ensure the protection of our children.
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer