Vets and dentists could spot crime, says Commissioner Simmonds

Commissioner Simmonds.
Commissioner Simmonds.

RSPCA officers, dentists and veterinary surgeons could play a role in detecting domestic and child abuse in Northamptonshire, the Police and Crime Commissioner has said.

Adam Simmonds said he admired the approach taken by violent crime taskforces in Glasgow, where ‘trusted professions’ can flag up concerns about patients and customers.

He said: “It was actually the violence reduction unit in Glasgow that came up with the idea. I think it could absolutely work here too.

“Sometimes an abusive partner may break a pet’s leg as a warning to the victim as to what may happen if they don’t do as they’re told. A vet may see this and know the explanation they’ve been given doesn’t add up.

“In another scenario, a dentist may see someone with a broken back tooth who says they fell off a bike, when their professional experience tells you it probably wasn’t the case. These things can be spotted to help us reduce violence.”

Such a scheme could see the vet or dentist have a discreet chat with a patients and suggest that a professional could be present at the surgery to speak to them at their next appointment.

Mr Simmonds also suggested another idea where RSPCA officers have powers similar to special constables so they can take action when encountering evidence of child abuse, for example, on home visits.

He said: “These things could help reduce violence.”