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Alcohol and drugs affects you in ways that can impair your judgement, make you more likely to do things you would not do sober, become louder, swear more, take more risks and can contribute towards abusive, violent and threatening behaviour within a household, out of sight and behind closed doors.

In 2017, there were over 1300 incidents in Wiltshire where alcohol and or drugs were deemed to be a contributing factor and there was a relationship between the victim and offender; 85% of these incidents happened behind closed doors.

Community policing is not just about what's happening out in our streets and public spaces, but also in homes and other places away from sight.

Inspector Andy Bridge is the Community Policing Team Inspector for the Swindon North area, he said:

"One aspect of community policing that is altogether unseen, is where police are called to deal with an incident behind closed doors, in someone's house or flat. Alcohol and drug addictions often play a part in the breakdown of relationships within a household and when they turn abusive or violent; the police are there to help.

"Officers in Swindon North attend several reports of incidents happening behind closed doors every single day. Investigations involving family relationships are handled delicately and sensitively, and take a great deal of time to investigate, in fact these investigations account for one of the most significant proportions of police time.

Andy Bridge Community Policing Team Inspector for Swindon North"We're finding that abusive behaviour behind closed doors is often fuelled by alcohol or drug abuse, and officers are repeatedly going back to the same addresses to investigate offences committed by those with dependencies against others in the home.

"While you may not see police officers walking the beat as much as you used to, we are here in the community, often investigating unseen offences and helping to protect vulnerable people."

Once the Community Policing Team have conducted the initial investigation and safeguarding, high risk incidents will be passed to the Force's Public Protection Department who have a team of dedicated officers and staff that work behind the scenes and beyond the beat to help victims of domestic abuse, and secure convictions and court orders to safeguard families.

Where alcohol or drugs are considered to have been a contributing factor in abusive, violent or threatening behaviour, police will signpost offenders and victims if necessary to support services to help them take control of the problem. Many offenders do not consider their drink or drug habit as a dependency but would benefit from some support and advice to improve their relationship with alcohol or drugs.

If you are, or you know about someone else who is experiencing abuse behind closed doors, report it to us by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.

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