WOMEN asking for information on their partner's record of domestic violence received a response from Cheshire Police just 20 per cent of the time, it has emerged.

The force was ranked 30th out of 37 according to analysis of government statistics carried out by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Under the 'right to ask' aspect of Clare's Law, people can effectively ask their local police force for a background check on someone they know.

It also allows police officers to proactively warn people they believe may be in danger from a violent partner under the 'right to know' part of the law.

The potentially life-saving legislation was introduced in 2014 following the murder of Clare Wood by her violent partner, who was known to police.

The Bureau – which works alongside newspapers across the country, including The Standard - has found huge disparities in how forces release information to those that apply.

Some forces disclose to less than 10 per cent of applicants while others hand out the information to more than 70 per cent.

The figures are for the year ending June 2017 and were originally compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Lee told The Standard that Cheshire Police's response rate for 'right to ask' applications is now higher at 31 per cent.

He also stressed that figures for non-disclosure of information under Clare's Law included instances when the police had no relevant information on the person to pass on.

In a statement, he said: “Any request for information received by the Constabulary is considered by a multi-agency group which determines whether a disclosure can be made against strict guidelines. The only exception to this is if there is a pressing need to inform the person requesting the information. In these cases the Constabulary will make the decision to inform without consultation.

“The number of disclosures Cheshire Constabulary has made has increased year on year and currently, 31 per cent of requests are accepted. The majority of those which are not accepted are cases where no relevant information is held.”

Like most forces, Cheshire has a relatively high number of successful applications to release information to people under the 'right to know' aspect of Clare's Law at 74 per cent.

Opportunities to tell someone that their partner has a violent past are identified by officers on the ground who then refer up to senior officers for a final decision.

The ONS has urged caution when comparing statistics between police forces as they are often recorded differently.

Clare Wood’s father, Michael Brown, told the Bureau he was “very disappointed” to hear that some police forces aren’t using the scheme as often as others.

“We didn’t run around for five years to get the law in place just for it to be ignored,” he said. “It seems like some police forces just don’t put domestic violence high up on the list.”

MP Jess Phillips who is on the Women and Equalities select committee, said: “The inconsistencies must be investigated and a level playing field must be reached. If we are going to make new legislation, we have to make sure it isn’t just nice-looking law, it has to mean something on the ground.”

The findings come less than two weeks after serial killer Theodore Johnson was sentenced to life and ordered to serve 26 years for the murder of his ex-partner Angela Best.

Johnson had already killed two other women: his first wife Yvonne Johnson and, years later, his partner Yvonne Bennett.

For more information on the Bureau's work visit www.thebureauinvestigates.com/projects/the-bureau-local