PCC welcomes HMIC domestic violence findings

Victims of domestic abuse in Suffolk can have confidence in the service they receive from police, according to a report published today (Thursday March 27).

The national review by police watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) says domestic abuse is an ‘important priority’ for police in the county and that ‘staff demonstrate a high level of commitment and awareness’.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said:

“The extent and nature of domestic abuse in the county really shocks me, it is a huge problem but one I am determined to address.

“I am very pleased that this report recognises that Suffolk Constabulary provides a good service to victims of domestic abuse, and in doing so, helps to keep them safe. We now need to build on this excellent work to reduce the number of repeat victims.

“The report highlighted the lack of independent domestic abuse advisors (IDVAs) in the county. This is quite unacceptable and is being addressed immediately. I am working with partner agencies to increase the number of IDVAs in Suffolk and this was welcomed by HMIC.

“It is crucially important that we do all we can to prevent this terrible crime as well as support the very vulnerable victims and this is a key part of my Police and Crime Plan. I have allocated funding to domestic violence organisations across the county and will continue to do all I can to support this valuable and important work.

He added, “We also need to recognise the very traumatic effect domestic abuse can have on children.”

Figures show that, in the 12 months to the end of August 2013, Suffolk recorded 2861 domestic abuse related crimes which accounted for 7% of all crime recorded in the county. During this period, 75 arrests were made for every 100 domestic abuse crimes compared to figures nationally of between 45 and 90.

The report recognised that staff in the control room are ‘competent, confident and empathetic in dealing with domestic abuse victims’ and that they are trained in order to assess risk and send the right level of police response.

All domestic abuse calls are given priority response and will either be attended as an emergency or within an hour depending of the threat of harm to the victim.

Additionally officers receive domestic abuse risk assessment training and some have had additional training, covering coercive control, stalking, harassment and honour-based violence and all domestic abuse crime investigations are reviewed by a detective sergeant, prior to being closed, to make sure that all available evidence has been collected.

The inspection team also highlighted that the Police and Crime Commissioner is keen to improve services for domestic abuse victims, specifically mentioning that the PCC is working with partner agencies to increase the number of independent domestic abuse advisors (IDVAs) in the county.