Number of threat-to-life warnings sent out by North East police forces revealed

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More than 1,900 people’s lives were threatened in the last four years, new police figures have shown.

The recipients were among 1,900 nationally to receive ‘Osman Warning’ letters in the last four years, according to new police figures.

Osman Warning letters are sent by officers if they become aware of a real or immediate threat to the life of a person.

Figures for forces across the country have been released under Freedom of Information laws, with Northumbria Police sending 12 warnings in 2014.

Fifteen were sent in 2013, and 50 were issued in 2012.

Superintendent Ged Noble said: “Northumbria Police acts on any intelligence or evidence which suggests that the welfare of someone is at risk.

“A rigorous review is carried out to consider the veracity of all information received. If it is considered there is a significant risk to the welfare of that person, we will inform them through an Osman Warning.

“We will then carry out a risk assessment with the co-operation of the alleged victim and appropriate measures will be put in place to ensure their safety.”

It is “encouraging” that the number of warnings has decreased year on year, Supt Noble added.

In Durham, there were 9 warnings issued last year, 22 in 2013 and 10 in 2012.

Recipients of the warnings included a boy and a girl under the age of 18 (2012) and a man over 60 in 2013.

Detective Superintendent Lee Johnson said his officers deal with threats being made on a day to day basis – with a minority of them being assessed as genuine.

He added: “Determining which threat is real and immediate, genuine or insincere is a critical aspect of daily policing both for officers in direct contact with the public, as well as managers and senior managers within the organisation.”