TACKLING coercive and controlling behaviour is a priority in Herefordshire, Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion says.

Herefordshire's emergency services today marked the White Ribbon campaign, which asks people to make the promise never to commit, excuse, or remain silent about violence against women, with an event aimed at broadening emergency workers' understanding of domestic violence.

Police, fire crews and charity staff heard the stories of two guest speakers that have been personally affected by domestic abuse.

Nick Gazzard, whose daughter was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, and Luke Hart, whose mother and sister were murdered by his father, shared their stories to highlight the dangers of controlling behaviour and the devastating effects it can have.

PCC John Campion said: “Inflicting any kind of harm, be it emotional, physical or psychological, is simply not acceptable. As Commissioner, it is a priority for me, as well as the police service and the services I have invested in, to do all we can to tackle this.

“This is a complex issue, which needs a multi-faceted approach. We need to ensure that victims and survivors are put first and that the police have the understanding and resources to address it effectively.

"We also need to make sure that we are targeting the issue at the root by disrupting and changing behaviour and raising awareness through important campaigns like White Ribbon.”

Chief Fire Officer Nathan Travis, from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are fully committed to doing all it can to help put an end to domestic violence.

“By raising awareness through this joint event, we hope that more people will recognise the signs of an abusive relationship so that those that suffer domestic violence or those that witness it can speak out and seek the appropriate help.”

Detective Inspector Liz Warner said: “It is imperative to establish how we can work together to tackle coercive and controlling behaviour”.