Sussex Police has allocated more than £100,000 to its fight against domestic violence.
The funding was announced by Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne on Monday (February 23).
It will enable the force’s use of Operation Ribbon domestic abuse patrol cars to be extended to the end of April while allowing the purchase of 200 smart phones with enhanced technology to support high-risk victims of abuse.
Mrs Bourne said: “Continued investment in the right technology to support victims of domestic abuse is crucial.”
The Operation Ribbon campaign was launched in December 2014 to provide enhanced support for victims over the festive period.
Mrs Bourne added: “The extra patrol cars act as a deterrent with officers taking a pro-active approach, visiting people known to be at risk of suffering domestic abuse.
“I am pleased that the benefits of this operation will continue to be delivered with no break in service to victims.
“The specialist smart phones will provide an extra layer of reassurance to domestic abuse victims as they will allow them to have a direct 24-hour line to the police.
“Victims will be able to activate the phone whenever they feel threatened, intimidated or at risk. They will also support victims of associated crimes such as stalking and harassment.”
Detective Superintendent Paul Furnell from Sussex Police Public Protection Unit welcomed the extra funding.
He said there had been a slight drop in the number of incidents of domestic abuse over Christmas and the new year – 823 down from 940 the previous year.
Of those incidents, 305 were recorded as specific crimes – and increase of 100 over the previous year – while arrests rose from 141 to 262.
DS Furnell said: “This reduction in incidents over Christmas may in part be due to the publicity we have given to the subject, but equally importantly to the work we are doing with partners to increase awareness and prevention.”
Mrs Bourne added: “I would encourage anyone who is suffering abuse by a partner or family member to please report it, if not to police, at least to a professional person or one of the agencies who specialise in providing expert support and advice.”