Ashfield police officer leading the way in supporting victims of sexual assault

An Ashfield police officer has become one of the latest to be trained to support victims of rape and other serious sexual assaults.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 2:18 pm

Nottinghamshire Police says PC Malgorzata Kacprzycka, part of the Ashfield neighbourhood policing team, is among a growing number of specially trained police officers taught to give the best support and to secure the strongest possible evidence.

The force has more than doubled the number of such officers over the last year and hopes to have more than 100 in place by Christmas.

Each specially trained officer volunteers for the role in addition to their day-to-day duties and receives enhanced training from experienced public protection detectives.

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PC Malgorzata Kacprzycka, part of the Ashfield neighbourhood policing team.

PC Kacprzycka said: “The main reason I volunteered was so I could help people at the point in their lives when they are at their lowest.

“Sexual offences are some of the most serious crimes we deal with and can affect people for the rest of their lives.

“I wanted to be part of the initial support they receive and to help them as much as I could.”

In a typical case specially trained officers may support their victim to give initial disclosure on video – a recorded first-hand account that can later be used in court.

Typically, they will work to preserve any physical or DNA evidence, as well as giving one-to-one support to victims in the vital early stages of an investigation.

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PC Kacprzycka said: “As a police officer it can be very daunting to be called to an allegation of rape or a serious sexual assault.

“You want to do everything right and you want to give that victim the very best possible service you can – but to do that you need knowledge and experience.

“So when I heard about this additional training I jumped at the chance to do it.

“It has been very interesting for me and I have learned a lot from it. I now feel a lot more confident in this area and have already been able to support one victim.

“Because I am originally from Poland, I am also able to support any victims from the Polish community who may be more comfortable talking about what happened in their first language.”

Detective Superintendent Pete Quinn, temporary head of public protection, said: “If you think about the offence of rape I think it is fair to say it is possibly one of the worst crimes somebody can be a victim of.

“It can also be a challenging offence for detectives to investigate, so that first contact between the victim and the police can be vital to the chances of a successful prosecution.

“I've been a police officer for quite a long time and I know when I wanted to join the service what motivated me was a desire to help people and to make a difference to our communities and to the public. The role of the specially trained officer is one area where officers really have the opportunity to come good on that promise.”

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