About 500 people a month are being referred to Leicestershire police’s newly formed specialist adult referral unit. It was created to ensure vulnerable adults do not slip through the net following criticism after the death of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter in October 2007. Ms Pilkington killed herself and her daughter Francecca after years of torment from yobs. The force and other authorities were criticised for failing to recognise the pattern of abuse faced by Francecca, 18 who had a learning disability.
Initially the team, which began work in April last year, was dealing with about 250 new cases – mostly those of people with mental illnesses – every month. Now, it is receiving about 500 referrals a month. Other cases involve people with physical or learning disabilities, the elderly and people with alcohol problems.
Detective Inspector Geoff Hughes, who leads the unit, said: “The critical thing we have learned from the Fiona Pilkington case is that relatively small incidents collectively have a significant impact on a person who is vulnerable. Our main role runs parallel to any criminal investigation. We ensure the criminal investigation is conducted thoroughly but we also take action to ensure people are safe in the long term.”