Police and Crime Commissioners to scrutinise police handling of domestic violence


Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has published a thematic report summarising its inspection of how forces tackle domestic violence.

Key findings:

  • Police response to victims of domestic abuse is not good enough; forces need to take decisive action now.
  • Police attitudes too often judgmental (despite improvements over the last decade and commitment of many excellent officers).
  • Skills to identify and tackle domestic abuse lacking.
  • Core policing, investigating the offence and safeguarding the victim, is not happening.
  • Four forces cause serious concern and are required to provide immediate action plans prior to re-inspection. Of these four forces, two have already been subject to a re-inspection.

Katy Bourne, Sussex PCC, and Vera Baird, Northumbria PCC, members of the HMIC domestic violence Inspection reference group, said:

“Tackling domestic abuse is a key priority for Police and Crime Commissioners and this report provides a real opportunity for us, as the public voice in policing, to make sure the police work with domestic violence victims and outside agencies to place more emphasis on this area.

“The report recognises that there are many frontline professionals who demonstrate real expertise and a concerted effort in tackling domestic abuse, but it is disappointing that the overall findings reveal that many police forces are still failing victims. We must never be complacent about tackling this socially unacceptable crime.

“Police and Crime Commissioners will work closely with Chief Constables to draw up force action plans to improve police performance in tackling domestic violence. We will strengthen our scrutiny of force performance in this area by using HMIC’s new checklist to ensure that Chief Constables are held to account on behalf of victims and look to work with the College of Policing to improve and drive up standards.

“It is now more important than ever for Chief Constables whose forces are not at the forefront to look to forces that are progressing well in this area to build a consistent approach across England and Wales.

“HMIC has recommended that a national oversight and monitoring group should be set up on domestic violence. We both expect to be members of that group to make sure this agenda is driven forward.

“We must also ensure that there is greater co-ordination between support groups and the police to ensure that victims feel confident to speak out.”



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