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West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, officers from West Midlands Police and a range of partners joined together to make people aware of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.

The event, held by Coventry Haven and Jeena at Coventry University, gave speakers and attendees the chance to learn how to identify key indicators and prevent such forms of abuse.

As well as PCC David Jamieson, the speakers included Clive Driscoll, a retired detective chief inspector who convicted the mother-in-law and husband of victim 27-year-old Surjit Athwal. Ms Athwal, originally from Coventry, had her murder arranged by her mother-in-law in 1998 after being perceived as being too ‘westernised’. Her body was never found. Her brother, Jagdeesh Singh, also delivered an address at the event, after campaigning for many years to bring his sister’s killers to justice.

David Jamieson said: “The way to tackle hidden crimes is to bring them out into the open and that is what West Midlands Police is doing.

“My Victims’ Commission, which is made up of experts from across the voluntary and community sectors, brings its knowledge and experience to set the priorities, ensure the right services are being offered to the right people and build a culture of ownership around victim care.

“I have also spent £110,000 to fund support services for victims of honour-based violence and forced marriage within the West Midlands.

“We have a good record in the West Midlands of tackling these crimes, but we will continue to do more to support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Detective Sergeant Trudy Gittins, who also spoke at the event, said: “Linking in with partners from front-line services is vital as often these people are the only chance for some victims to tell anyone what is happening to them.

“The aim of this event was to prepare these professionals to use these limited and unique opportunities to give victims the help, guidance and support they so desperately need. It also was important to provide attendees with the knowledge, tools and contacts to be able to do this with confidence and recognise when someone may be at risk.

“Everyone has a part to play where hidden crimes are concerned and front line employees sometimes have a vital role to spot vulnerabilities early, therefore by working together we can all help to keep people safe and help prevent this abhorrent crime.”

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