CHESHIRE Police’s ongoing fight to tackle domestic violence has been recognised in a new report.
A review by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary said the way Cheshire Police deals with domestic violence cases is “effective” and they can “identify victims of domestic abuse and make them safer”.
The review also praised the high priority status Cheshire Police holds domestic violence cases in.
The report notes the good partnership working between the police and other agencies, and the fact Cheshire has processes in place to ensure victims are notified when offenders are released from prison.
Specific mention is made of the skill of call takers in the Force Control Centre when dealing with first calls for help from victims. The force receives praise for the steps police take to keep victims safe.
In Cheshire, domestic abuse accounts for one per cent of calls to the police for assistance. Of these, a third were from repeat victims and domestic abuse accounts for eight per cent of all recorded crime.
The force recorded 4,649 assaults with injury. Of these 1,323 were domestic abuse related for the 12 months to end of August 2013.
Assistant Chief Constable of Cheshire Police, Ruth Purdie, welcomed the findings but said the police were not complacent.
She said: “We are pleased with the positive findings by HMIC, but we know there is much more that we can be doing to address this pervasive, all-year-round problem.
“Over the last year, we have made a big effort to make sure officers and staff understand how they can help domestic abuse survivors with referrals to support services.
“We are also piloting new tagging devices in the force to ensure that offenders cannot approach people they have abused.
“From June, we will be able to use new powers to protect people with Domestic Violence Protection Notice and Orders. There is also a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme in Cheshire which allows the police to tell the public if a new partner has a history of being abusive.”
Despite the positive comments on Cheshire, the picture was not consistent across the country.
John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said: “The findings of the national HMIC report give me some concerns. I am pleased to hear the Home Secretary is giving her personal attention to this. As part of my Victim’s Voice campaign I have been listening to the concerns raised by survivors of domestic abuse. They say there is room for improvement in the way they are being dealt with by the police and other criminal justice agencies in terms of the support they are given through the ordeal of bringing a perpetrator to justice.
“This often means leaving the family home and disrupting the lives of their children. It can take years before a victim has the courage to report a crime of domestic abuse and I want to make sure they have the confidence to know the police will do a good job and the processes are in place to support them when they reach that crisis point.
“In Cheshire, I would like to reassure victims the processes are in place and the constabulary take domestic abuse very seriously. Our statistics show 40 per cent of domestic abuse incidents in Cheshire arise as a result of alcohol abuse and we are working closely with other agencies, such as local authorities to tackle the root cause of the problem.”