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People affected by domestic abuse are being reminded that they are not alone during the upcoming UEFA European Championship.
The rise in incidents of domestic abuse during and after football matches is well documented.
In 2014 a study found that reported cases of intimate partner violence increased by 38 per cent when England lost and by 26 per cent when they won or drew in the World Cup.
Cheshire Constabulary will be joining representatives from partner domestic abuse agencies across the county to give domestic abuse the red card.
Chief Constable Mark Roberts, who is also the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s football policing lead, said: “Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for Cheshire Constabulary.
“We know from previous tournaments that we have seen an increase in domestic abuse around certain fixtures, and this can be exacerbated by the addition of alcohol and gambling.
“Sadly, we are anticipating there will be a rise in domestic abuse reports during the tournament.
“We will use everything at our disposal to support victims and apprehend perpetrators. Domestic abuse is a crime and, while emotions do tend to run high, it is not an excuse to abuse partners.”
The force will be hosting live web chats during the tournament to support anyone suffering from domestic abuse.
Anyone with questions or concerns is able to submit questions anonymously about their situation.
Family members or friends are also able to find out what they should do if they are concerned about loved ones.
Representatives from police and partner agencies will be there to answer queries and guide people to the right support for them.
The following web chats are scheduled, with more dates to be added as the tournament progresses, to ensure those who want to join should safely have the opportunity to do so:
Questions can be submitted to [email protected] and will be posted anonymously.
The chats can be accessed from www.cheshire.police.uk on the day.
Detective Chief Inspector, of Cheshire Constabulary, said: “We are working with our partners within councils across the county.
“Our fantastic close working relationship with the Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA) means we can offer a comprehensive and supportive response to victims of domestic abuse.
“We are committed to prioritising domestic abuse and robustly targeting offenders whilst safeguarding victims and protecting children.
“We want the message to be clear, we will always take positive action against domestic abuse offenders, those who commit domestic abuse in Cheshire will be pursued and prosecution sought, the county is a hostile environment for all criminals and domestic abuse is of highest priority for us.
“Cheshire Constabulary has committed to training all frontline officers as domestic abuse first responders.
“We have launched a campaign for Domestic Abuse Champions within Cheshire Constabulary who will assist colleagues in providing the best response possible to victims and families suffering from domestic abuse.
“We urge anyone suffering from domestic abuse or concerned for someone who might be a victim to contact us on101, via https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report or on 999 in an emergency.
“Please be aware that under Clare’s Law, any member of the public has the right to ask us if their partner may pose a risk to them, or to make an enquiry into the partner of a close friend or family member on their behalf.
“To make a Clare’s Law request please visit www.cheshire.police.uk, call 101 (always call 999 in an emergency) or attend any police station.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, added: “I wholeheartedly support the approach the Chief Constable and his officers are taking to tackle domestic abuse in Cheshire, and particularly during the European Championship.
“Cheshire police officers and staff are fully trained to ensure they understand how they can help domestic abuse victims, along with our partner agencies across the county.
“I want the public to have the confidence to know that the police will support them, and that the correct processes are in place to provide that support.”
The force works closely with local authority domestic abuse services across the county.
Each authority will be communicating specific pathways for victims and perpetrators during the tournament.
The Open the Door website (www.openthedoorcheshire.org.uk) is there to provide support to residents across Cheshire 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Open the Door campaign encourages people experiencing abuse, people with abusive behaviours, friends and family to access information about how to spot the signs of domestic abuse and how to get early help where they live.
Information is also available for local employers to help them recognise if an employee is in an abusive situation at home.
Many of the initial signs and symptoms of abuse can be tricky to spot from the outside, so people are asked to trust their instincts.
Some of the signs to look out for are:
Councillor Robert Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “We know that the past 18 months has been an extremely difficult time for anyone who has been suffering from domestic abuse. The upcoming European Championship will also be a worrying time for many of these people.
“Domestic abuse doesn’t have to stay behind closed doors. Cheshire’s Open the Door is there to help people get the help they need and to bring this hidden crime out into the open.
“Please don’t suffer in silence, support is available.”
If you, or someone you know is in a relationship that does not quite feel right, speak to someone about it.
You can get help and advice and contact information for support services for your area of Cheshire at openthedoorcheshire.org.uk. Always call 999 in an emergency.
Nathan Batha, of Watkiss Drive, Rugeley, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving in Cheshire, failing to stop for the police and driving without insurance.
The charges relate to the 19-year-old’s driving of a black Audi in the early hours of Sunday 13 December.
An officer from Cheshire Constabulary’s Roads and Crime Unit spotting the car travelling at excess speed through Junction 17 of the M6 northbound in Sandbach at around 3.50am.
He pursued the vehicle, which reached speeds over 150mph before hitting several cones and entering a coned off area of the motorway.
The officer was forced to stop pursuing the car for safety reasons, after witnessing it overtake and undertake other vehicles at excessive speed.
A colleague in the Roads and Crime Unit driving an unmarked police car subsequently followed the Audi, as did a Merseyside Police officer.
After it had exited the motorway at Junction 21, the officers witnessed the Audi travel along the A57 Manchester Road in Warrington at more than 105mph.
It went through a red traffic light at over 100mph on the road with a 40mph speed limit.
The officer who originally pursued the car was lying in wait on Manchester Road with a stinger, thanks to his communications with his colleagues.
It was successfully deployed, bursting one of the Audi’s tyres.
Despite having a flat tyre, Batha continued to attempt to flee the officers.
After going around a roundabout in the wrong direction at Junction 21 of the M6, the Audi he was driving was boxed in by the officers on the slip road leading to the northbound side of the motorway.
Batha was arrested and interviewed in custody.
He refused to answer any questions, but with officers having dashcam footage of his driving offences Batha was always going to be charged and he had little option other than to admit the charges.
Batha was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday 9 June and was jailed for 12 months.
Police Constable Chris Jones, who led the investigation into the driving offences at Cheshire Constabulary’s Roads and Crime Unit, said: “Thankfully no-one was injured as a result of Nathan Batha’s dangerous driving on both the M6 and in a residential area of Warrington. The consequences of this incident could have been far worse.
“Speed limits are in place for a reason – travelling at an unsafe speed is one of the main causes of deaths on our roads.
“By speeding on the M6, and then driving at over 150mph on the motorway and over 105pm on a road with a 40mph limit in a bid to escape punishment for the manner of his driving, Batha put his life and the lives of other road users at risk.
“Thankfully, our pursuit of him, aided by a colleague at Merseyside Police, was brought to a safe conclusion and Batha is now facing the consequences of his actions.
“I hope that this case deters others from driving dangerously in Cheshire and failing to stop for the police.”
Superintendent Jon Betts, head of Cheshire Constabulary’s Roads and Crime Unit, added: “We take dangerous driving offences very seriously at the force and anyone found travelling dangerously at excess speed will be dealt with robustly.
“Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right, and it comes with great responsibility to act within the rules laid down when you pass your test.
“When you deliberately ignore those rules, you put yourself and other people at considerable risk.
“Speeding reduces your time to react and deal with things like changes in driving conditions and actions taken by other road users.
“It also magnifies other driver errors, such as travelling too close to other vehicles or driving or riding when tired or distracted, multiplying the chances of causing an accident.
“It is no surprise then that speeding is one of the five main contributory factors that cause serious road traffic collisions.
“The others are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving carelessly, not wearing a seat belt and driving while using a mobile phone.
“Together, these are known as the Fatal 5.
“We launched our Fatal 5 campaign at the beginning of 2019 to raise awareness of the importance of driving safely, adhering to speed limits and not committing any potentially deadly driving offences.
“The message for motorists is don’t put your life, and the lives of other road users and pedestrians, at risk – slow down, pay attention, wear your seat belt, put your phone down, don’t drink or drug drive and make sure that your vehicle is safe for the roads.”