Police in Yorkshire reveal number of warnings issued to people whose lives are in danger

Warnings that a person's life is in immediate danger are sent out by police on a weekly basis in some parts of Yorkshire, forces have revealed.

Monday, 13th April 2020, 6:00 am

Freedom of Information requests submitted to the four Yorkshire police forces revealed the number of Osman warnings, also known as Threat To Life (TTL) warnings, which have been given out between January 2015 and the end of last year.

The warnings are sent when police receive intelligence there is a "real and immediate" threat to a person's life, but do not have enough evidence to make any arrests.

Both adults and children can be subjects of Osman warnings, which are served by police forces except in cases where the person in danger is either a child or has dependants, in which case social services are also notified.

Osman warnings are issued by police to notify someone if their life is perceived to be at "real and immediate" threat.

In some instances, children and other vulnerable people are moved to a safe location to protect them.

Of the three police forces which did disclose, Humberside Police had the highest average number of TTL warnings issued, although were only able to disclose the figures for up to June 2017 when there was a change in the force's IT system.

Some 222 Osmans were sent out by Humberside between 2015 and June 5, 2017, with 86 issued in 2016 alone.

In 2017, there were 60 occasions between January 1 and June 5 alone of intelligence that a person's life was at immediate risk.

Children can be issued with Osman warnings, too. Picture: Adobe Stock Images

South Yorkshire Police issued 234 warnings to people whose lives were in immediate danger between January 2015 and December 31 last year.

The most issued in one year was in 2016, when 72 warnings were given out.

A spokesman for the force said: "As an organisation, when we are in receipt of any information that may necessitate a threat to someone’s life, an assessment is conducted in relation to the threat and the most appropriate action is taken relevant to the specific or surrounding circumstances."

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Osman warnings are issued by police to notify someone if their life is perceived to be at "real and immediate" threat.

North Yorkshire Police, meanwhile, had the lowest number of Osman warnings issued, having sent 23 between January 2015 and the end of last year. Seven warnings were issued in 2018, the highest in any one year, but only two last year.

Yorkshire's biggest police force, West Yorkshire Police, declined to disclose the figures.

The force said it had "previously received similar requests which have exceeded costs".

Police issuing Osman warnings are required to assess the level of risk, either low, medium or high, posed to the individual.

One Yorkshire police force issued 80 Osman warnings in less than six months, a Freedom of Information request has revealed. Picture: Adobe Stock Images

According to guidance by Greater Manchester Police, those at high risk who are children, or who reside with children who may also be at risk, may be moved to another location.

BBC journalist Annabel Deas revealed in her podcast, Hope High, last month how children in Huddersfield were moved to locations "hundreds of miles away" for their safety amidst gang and drugs-related conflicts in the town.

Ms Deas, who spent a year in Huddersfield investigating the effects of county lines and gang crime on families, said: "One child had been moved to a care home for children hundreds of miles away from the town for his own protection because there were dangers around his life."

North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside forces were also contacted for comment, but either declined or failed to respond.

David Tucker, Head of Crime at the College of Policing, said: “The purpose of issuing an Osman warning by the police is to alert an individual that police have information and intelligence suggesting there is a credible, immediate and significant threat to the safety of an individual.

"Once the warning is issued, police will then work with the person in danger on identifying the best ways of keeping them safe. In some cases, this could mean relocating the individual, however, as each case is unique, police will assess the risks and make suggestions accordingly, with the person’s safety being a priority at all times."