Still a Second Class Crime

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So the HMIC report is now landing on the desks of Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners across the land and it won’t make comfortable reading for most of them.  The failings that the Inspector has identified are in the basic elements of the police response.  One would assume that there would be a consistent approach to arrests when a crime is committed.  Apparently not.  Or gathering evidence.  Or showing empathy to victims.  Or correctly identifying the level of risk a victim faces.  Or defining a repeat incident.  The list goes on.

I hope we are not naïve in this that this is stuff that is not so hard to fix.  It doesn’t cost more to investigate properly, or show empathy.  Taking proper statements and referring to the local IDVA service or helpline should be the minimum we can expect.  Arguably, if the initial response was more effective, then it might save costs in terms of repeat callouts.

We are fortunate to be working with some Chief Constables and PCCs who really do take domestic abuse seriously – and the difference is striking.  We accept that there are a lot of competing priorities but a shift in attitudes of the leadership within the Police is essential for the report to have a real impact.  The report is crystal clear about what needs to change.  As an organisation, we will do everything we can to support them to make this a reality.

 

What a prize that would be…

2 Comments to “Still a Second Class Crime”

  1. Hi Diane,
    It is very easy to make sweeping comments about how police officers should do their job without personal experience of the problems they face. I’ve spent 30 years as a bobby and the last 10 specialising in DA. I have seen massive positive changes in how we deal with the issues, how officers are trained and the sttitudes of officers towards victims of abuse. The vast majority of incidents they deal with are situational couple violence and trying to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that one party is the primary or prominant aggressor is an impossible and often thankless task. They are often facing aggression from both parties who are very drunk and making counter allegations. I train these officers in what is expected and the vast majority do their utmost to make a judgement and deal as robustly as they can. They are constantly under pressure to get to the next job which could be anything from a traffic collision to a burglary to a vulnerable missing person. Officers are aware their decisions are scrutinised and may be criticsed at any time in the future. These people (police officers are still people) do what they can to bring calm, confirm the welfare of those at the scene, check on children, collate evidence, make arrests, complete reports, investigate and all the other things expected of them during a stressful shift.
    I do accept it is not perfect and it is nice to hope that one day it will be. I realise the response to victims is variable and I know that IDVA Services vary what and how they do things too.
    I would like to suggest that you volunteer to go out as an observer with a patrol car in a busy town to just see how things go at the sharp end when things are at their lowest.

    • Thanks for your comment. Of course your comments reflect part of the reality. But if you read the full report and the individual force reports, you will see that in some areas it works as you suggest. In other areas, it really does not. I would be delighted to join someone from your team in a patrol car.

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