On Thursday, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visited the Metropolitan Police operations base in Lambeth, alongside Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. Camilla toured the building, met police officers, and was shown a demonstration of innovative technology being used to help those affected by domestic abuse, which Commissioner Dick has described as a “pernicious problem”.
Camilla was given a demonstration of a secret device given to women at risk of domestic abuse; it uses high-tech satellite tracking technology to pinpoint the exact location of the person in distress, and thus provide a rapid response to any domestic abuse crimes. The Met Police were the first UK police force to pioneer this type of geo-location technology to fight crime.
Sitting beside a Communications Supervisor, who demonstrated the device, Camilla proclaimed: “Just seeing it is believing – very impressive.”
The Duchess of Cornwall was then taken on a tour of the centre that handles a large number of 999 and 101 non-emergency calls from across London, meeting call handlers and police officers along the way. She stopped off at a fund-raising tuck shop which raises money for different charities from the sales of drinks and confectionery, turned to her Private Secretary for money, and paid £10 for two chocolate bars.
Camilla has dedicated a significant amount of her time to supporting charities assisting those who have suffered from abuse, including pioneering wash bags for those who have been examined by police for evidence of sexual assault and rape with Boots. Her visit to the Metropolitan Police base in Lambeth further demonstrates her commitment to this type of crime.
Cressida Dick said in a speech: “It means an enormous amount to us that you’re taking such a keen interest in the issues of domestic violence, which of course remains a really pernicious problem in our society and in London and something we in the Met take incredibly seriously.
“And I think there are lots of signs we are getting better and better and better at dealing – from a police point of view – but there is so much more to do, and the fact you’re so interested in this subject and have met colleagues working with the new way of protecting people is really appreciated.”
The Royal praised the work of the Met Police and said: “I’m thrilled to have come today, I’ve learnt a lot.”
“Till you come and see things, like the 999 calls, I don’t think me, as an ordinary member of the public, understand quite what goes on behind the scenes.
“I see how much work and how much time goes into it all, and the pressure, the pressure all of you must feel – I’m astounded by all the work you do and I can only congratulate you all, you do us all a tremendous service, I don’t know what we’d do without you.”
Camilla also met with the Children and Young People’s Havens service, which provides a specialist service in a reassuring environment following sexual assault.
Staff, including a child psychologist, spoke with the Duchess in the newly refurbished, child-friendly building, deliberately designed to provide a homely, quiet and calm environment for the discussion of such sensitive topics.