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U.K. instructors train Barrie police in victim support services

Barrie Police cruiser. (CTV News/Mike Arsalides) Barrie Police cruiser. (CTV News/Mike Arsalides)
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To better support victims of crime, a dozen Barrie police officers went back to the classroom.

Instructors from the United Kingdom College of Policing brought the victim support instructors to Barrie at the behest of Barrie Det. Const. Deborah Howe of the Major Crime Unit.

After attending the course last year, Howe knew the inclusive and diverse training would benefit Barrie.

"The level of instruction is second to none, and having additional officers trained from our service is invaluable. Our community will appreciate these officers and the professional approach, dedication, and commitment they can offer in what is a very difficult time for a victim's family," Howe said.

In Ontario, police follow an investigative protocol when it comes to any complex investigations, such as a homicide or a traffic fatality where there has been a loss of life.

Part of the provincial protocol identifies the need to have someone identified who can be the main point of contact with the victim's family. This liaison includes providing support as well as keeping the family appraised of any developments in the ongoing investigation.

"By participating in this recent training opportunity, we will be able to better support our community when they need us most," said Sgt. Jason Frye of Barrie's recruitment unit after attending the course.

Police officers from York Regional Police, Toronto Police and South Simcoe Police also participated in the course.

Just days after the course concluded, Barrie police called upon two of the service's newly-trained family liaison officers to provide support to a family affected by a fatality in our community, spokesman Peter Leon said in a news release.

"As we move forward, our designated family liaison officers will be able to share the responsibility that often falls upon one person within our service. Having a team of highly trained professionals allows us to deal with tragedy in a manner that is focused upon the family of the involved victim," said Barrie police Chief Rich Johnston.

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