Abuse cops must improve

Police line tape
Police line tape

Nottinghamshire Police have been told to improve the way they tackle domestic abuse after criticisms from an independent watchdog.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) was commissioned by the Home Secretary Theresa May, in September 2013, to inspect the police response to domestic violence and abuse around the country.

It said the Nottinghamshire force’s approach to tackling domestic abuse is effective in some areas, but there are important aspects of the service the force provides to victims requiring further improvement.

For every 100 domestic abuse crimes recorded in Nottinghamshire in the 12 months up to August 2013, there were 83 arrests - comparable to the rest of the country.

Nottinghamshire recorded 7,156 domestic abuse related crimes.

Of these just 29 per cent resulted in a charge, 23 per cent resulted in a caution and four per cent had an out of court disposal, such as a fixed penalty fine.

HM Inspector of Constabulary for the Eastern Region, Zoë Billingham, said: “Staff are committed to supporting victims and making them safe and they have benefited from recent training and briefings about domestic abuse.

“But more could be done to improve their understanding of how to use their professional judgement and discretion to help achieve better outcomes ”

The report said victims assessed as high risk received a better standard of service than those of medium or standard risk which resulted in inconsistencies.

There were inconsistent approaches between the three multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARAC). However the force had developed strong links with partner agencies and were working together to share information to protect high risk victims.

Deputy Commissioner Chris Cutland, said: “It’s important we recognise the hard work carried out by force staff and officers to support survivors of domestic abuse and ensure the perpetrators of these crimes receive punishment.

“However, there is room for improvement and this report is central to helping us understand where to focus our attention in order to implement changes that will positively impact on the effectiveness of our work.”