Shifting policing priorities and competing demands have strained the Royal Gibraltar Police’s ability to visit vulnerable persons within the community.
Statistics in the RGPs latest annual report show that visits by officers to vulnerable persons fell ‘significantly’ from 411 in the reporting year 2015/2016 to just 64 last year.
The report explains: “The lack of a dedicated resource has meant that we no longer routinely visit vulnerable persons but rather do so upon referral from First Responder officers.”
The Gibraltar Police Authority, which is tasked with ensuring that the RGP operates as efficiently and effectively as possible within available resources, said that the focus of victims of crime has “suffered tremendously” as a result.
“The lack of a dedicated resource has meant that routine visits are no longer being carried out,” the GPA states in its annual report.
“Nevertheless, vulnerable persons are visited upon referral,” it added.
Analysing the statistical data requires caution, however, because the numbers include not just visits to victims of crime – where the RGP has a primary role – but also visits to vulnerable people whose care is the prime responsibility of other government agencies.
Likewise even where victims of crime are concerned, the response often requires a coordinated multi-agency approach that may not be reflected in the RGP statistical data.
In an interview with the Chronicle Chief Superintendent Richard Mifsud said it was important to draw a distinction between those two categories.
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