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Seven officers from Bedfordshire Police attended a training session delivered by the learning disability care team and tenants at Bedford Supported Living, to provide first-hand guidance on liaising with vulnerable people.

Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) is a government standard that ensures guidelines are followed in criminal proceedings when police officers are interviewing vulnerable adults and children or calling upon to them to give evidence.

The training provided by Bedford Supported Living, ensured police officers had a thorough understanding of all aspects of living with a learning disability, from understanding the range of disabilities and needs, to mental capacity assessments, safeguarding, communication, mental health and an overview of the definition and history of learning disabilities.

The training is particularly valuable for police officers as when evidence is gathered under ABE it removes the sense of intimidation that can be inherent in the process and includes alterations to the court process that can be made in these circumstances.

Some of the tenants were able to share lived experiences of being a victim of crime and to express the challenges and barriers they had come across in order to enable officers to empathise and understand their perspective.

The session is part of a collaborative programme of training between Bedfordshire Police and The Fremantle Trust and demonstrates how communities can work together for the greater good.

Commenting on the experience, Jo Gray, service manager of Bedford Supported Living, said:

The training was really successful and a rewarding day for everyone involved. Tenants and members of the team valued the opportunity to share their experiences, confident that this will give helpful insight and understanding to officers when dealing with vulnerable people in the future. We look forward to developing our relationship with Bedfordshire Police to continue the delivery of such valuable training.

Lorraine Lewis, Detective Constable from Bedfordshire Police said:

In the course of our work as police officers, we will often encounter vulnerable adults and children that need our help.Through better understanding of the issues they face, we will be better equipped to serve those that need us, possibly at the worst time in their lives. This training will prove invaluable, I have no doubt.