Caring about the Vulnerable

We will have an in-depth understanding of how we can best protect the most vulnerable people in our society and will invest in services, skills and partner relationships to deliver the best possible outcomes

Caring about how we protect vulnerable people, about the service we provide and how we go about our work, is increasingly important. The police are now having to respond to more public welfare calls, including missing persons, individuals in mental health crisis, older people with complex needs, and people with alcohol and drug issues. Protecting the public from harm is the purpose of policing and in North Yorkshire this is already done well. But these challenges demand more of the police, beyond traditional protection.

By combining response with compassion, the police can embed a more caring service for vulnerable people, which will help families and individuals feel better served. This requires a deeper understanding of vulnerability, as well as finding new ways to work with partners and charities who are better placed to provide support.

Consequently, we will work particularly closely with local authorities, health and third sector partners to ensure vulnerable people access the right support, as the police are very often not the most appropriate service to help. (This is principally covered in Priority 2: Ambitious Collaboration).

Objective 1:

A compassionate workforce with an excellent understanding of vulnerability in all its forms, which is better and more accurately recorded. 


Short term – Vulnerable people will feel better supported by the police, with increasing confidence in the service. There will be fewer people expressing dissatisfaction and problems will be swiftly understood and appropriately addressed.

Medium term – Police officers and staff will feel more confident and better equipped to understand and assess vulnerability, which will improve operational decision-making whether in communities, the control room or other situations such as custody.

Medium term – Detailed analysis and assessments of each type of crime associated with vulnerability will be up to date and the resources and capabilities required to tackle the threats will have been identified and secured, whether they be local, regional or national. This includes human trafficking, child sexual exploitation and other issues such as so called ‘honourbased’ crimes.

Objective 2:

An improved response and reduced harm to people at greater risk, including those who are vulnerable due to their mental ill-health, victims of hate crime, young people and older people. Harm will also be reduced by developing closer working practices between partners and improved sharing of relevant information.


Short term – For older people, frontline officers and staff will be better able to identify and record risk, whether that be in a care, online or community setting. Appropriate action will be taken in response, which includes proactively working with families, carers, health/local authority partners and communities to ensure people are protected and future harm is prevented.

Short term – Young people and those who care for them will feel more confident in reporting online or physical abuse, to the police, because the response provided demonstrates an understanding of their specific needs.

Short term – Child sexual exploitation will be better understood and recognised by all frontline staff and partners so that victims receive a comprehensive, timely response. Strategies will be based on national best practice and take full advantage of national or regional work, as well as locally commissioned and specialist services which will be available in all areas.

Short term – The ways in which victims can report hate crime will be improved, supported by the police and partner or commissioned services, leading to an increase in reporting and a higher number of successful convictions.

Short term – An evidence-based approach to co-commissioning of services such as mental health triage will be embedded and the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat will be flourishing with a clear vision and agreed outcomes.

Medium term – Improved strategic and operational planning between partners to respond to mental health issues and crises will see those with mental ill-health being supported and engaged by the most appropriate service, in the most appropriate way and only by the police when necessary.

Medium term – The police will have mainstreamed the skills needed to respond effectively to cyber bullying, harassment and issues such as sexting. Medium term – Increased confidence amongst the public, especially women and girls, that domestic abuse and violence will be dealt with effectively and compassionately will lead to an increase in reporting.

Objective 3:

An improved response to the specific needs and vulnerabilities of communities that are hard to reach, either physically, such as isolated rural communities, or due to socioeconomic and other circumstances.


Short term – The unique vulnerabilities, deprivation and demand in rural and isolated areas will be better understood, and the police’s response improved, by embracing technology, working with our rural communities more closely, and by learning from best practice and evidence.

Short term – The impact of serious and organised criminals, especially those who target hard to reach communities and vulnerable people, will be better understood and the police’s response will have improved.

Medium term – Rural and isolated communities will have an increased confidence in their local police service. Reporting will increase and there will be continued improvements in our ability to tackle issues such as cross-border crime and theft of equipment, livestock and wildlife crime.

Medium term – The successful partnership model active in parts of North Yorkshire will be developed and rolled out, enabled by shared IT. This will lead to increased satisfaction from communities that their concerns are being addressed.

Medium term – Minority communities, especially BME communities, will report increased confidence in the police, and there will be an increase in the reporting of crime and ASB amongst these communities. The Independent Advisory Groups will be actively contributing to policing policy and practice, which will in turn be more responsive to community needs.

Objective 4:

Provide an exceptional service to victims and witnesses, offering them more specialist support throughout the criminal justice process, leading to better outcomes at court.


Short term – Both the public and frontline officers and staff will be more aware of the services available through Supporting Victims. This will lead to an increase in the number of people accessing Supporting Victims for help or being signposted to specialised services. Self-referrals will also have increased as awareness increases amongst both the public and the workforce.

Short term – The range and extent of third sector services will be better understood and utilised and frontline officers and staff will report an increased awareness of what is available and how to refer people into these services.

Medium term – Victim and witness satisfaction will increase, and they will feel more supported throughout the court process.

Long term – The range of commissioned and co-commissioned services for vulnerable people will have been developed based on feedback from people who have used the services, learning from best practice, and from reviewing and monitoring the services. The ‘return on investment’ for the police service, the public and partner organisations will be robustly understood.