With police across England and Wales taking more than 100 calls about domestic abuse each hour, Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) wants reassurance that police locally are doing everything they can to support and protect those calling for help.
Inspectors visiting over the summer found that 12% of calls received by Norfolk Police are about domestic abuse – the second highest figure for all forces across England and Wales. They also reported that recorded domestic abuse had risen by 34% in Norfolk, against a national average increase of 20.8%.
PCC Stephen Bett has made tackling domestic abuse and supporting victims a priority for not only the police but for all organisations involved in community safety and criminal justice – something which was recognised in the inspection report published in December 2015.
“This inspection was a follow-up from a report published in 2014 which highlighted a concerning lack of awareness of domestic abuse across most forces, along with inconsistent or poor practice”, Stephen said. “Nationally, that report acted as a wake-up call and the follow-up inspection found that, where heads had been firmly lodged in the sand previously, domestic abuse is increasingly becoming everyone’s business.
“Norfolk’s well-developed response to supporting victims of domestic abuse was praised in the initial report, and the force was then rated ‘good’ for protecting vulnerable victims in the follow-up – definitely something to be welcomed. Our work with partners through the MASH multi-agency safeguarding hub also got a specific mention.
“The police response to tackling domestic abuse is something which must now remain in focus and I will be keeping a close eye on how our police are working to support victims and bring abusers to justice. The inspectors have identified a number of key areas for PCC scrutiny, on which I will be questioning the Chief Constable at our public meeting in King’s Lynn next week.”
Based on inspection recommendations, and as part of his regular review of police performance, Stephen will question the Chief Constable on:
- How the force identifies vulnerable, high-risk and repeat victims, and safeguards them and their families
- The demand on Norfolk Police in relation to domestic abuse and how resources are allocated to enable investigation of crimes and safeguarding of victims
- How successful the force is at bringing offenders to justice, and the role the police play in preventing domestic abuse
- How well other organisations work with the police to prevent abuse, protect victims and reduce offending.
The public meeting between the PCC and Chief Constable is on Monday 18 January 2016, beginning at 10am in The Assembly Room, Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, Kings Lynn, PE30 5DQ. Read the meeting papers.
The meeting will be followed at 12 noon by a budget consultation event. Hear from the PCC and Chief Constable and have your say on policing priorities and whether the amount you pay through Council Tax to fund policing should be increased for 2016/17.
For more information on Norfolk Police inspections, visit the HMIC website.