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Police on lookout for Croydon's most-wanted amid fears of a rise in domestic violence during World Cup

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PICTURES of Croydon's most-wanted domestic violence offenders are to be given to CCTV operators amid fears of an increase in abuse during the World Cup. The campaign also includes graphic posters put up across the borough which feature a woman with a black eye next to a blood splattered football and the words: "What time is kick off in your house?" The joint council and police effort follows studies that show abuse increases during international tournaments, whether England win or lose. It is understood the Met has been issuing warnings to men and women with a record of domestic violence ahead of England's first game on Saturday night. Police have shared images of the most high-risk offenders with the council's CCTV team to help them alert officers should they be spotted on camera during matches. Research by Dr Stuart Kirby, a former police officer turned criminologist, based on incidents during World Cups in 2002, 2006, and 2010, show domestic violence increased 38 per cent when England lost and rose 26 per cent when they won. The poster campaign will last two weeks and includes information of how victims can get advice, help and support. Stickers with helpline numbers will be placed at key venues as part of a wider, year-long effort to tackle domestic violence, including Crystal Palace's ground Selhurst Park, libraries, sports centres and GP surgeries. Croydon Pubwatch, which encourages good practice among licensees, will be distributing safety messages in pubs and clubs. Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice, said: "Studies show that domestic violence increases during major football tournaments. "Domestic abuse is a criminal offence, and police in Croydon will be targeting offenders and arresting those responsible for this crime. "There is a range of services available to anyone affected by domestic abuse, whether violent or not, and we urge anyone affected to seek advice and support agencies." Officers from the community safety unit will be accompanying licensing officers to bars and pubs during the tournament to hand out leaflets to those watching the games. Detective Sergeant Kris Blamires is organising the police operation during the World Cup. "Our approach is focused on the victim, which is why we'll have officers out and about giving information and advice to people in the support agencies and services that can help them if they are suffering domestic abuse," he said. "We will also be targeting offenders and making concerted effort to arrest anyone committing abuse during the tournament. "It is absolutely not acceptable to use the football, or anything else, as an excuse to abuse a partner or loved one, and we'll be taking robust action against anyone who thinks otherwise." Despite a 9.5 per cent drop in overall crime in Croydon in the last financial year, domestic violence increased 15 per cent, on the back of a 13.4 per cent rise in 2012/13. Borough Commander David Musker described the problem as an "epidemic" which would get his "full attention", though credited this year's increase to growing confidence among victims in coming forward to the police. A special report published in February showed that, in 2010/11, 22,000 people in Croydon were victims of some form of domestic violence or abuse.

Police on lookout for Croydon's most-wanted amid fears of a rise in domestic violence during World Cup


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