Police chiefs should treat violence against women as seriously as terrorism and stop ditching an ‘eye-water- ing’ number of crimes, a watchdog has said.
A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services yesterday highlighted how three out of four domestic abuse cases are closed early without anyone being charged.
The number of investigations into sex attacks on women shelved due to ‘evidential difficulties’ also tripled from 4,326 cases in 2014/15 to 13,395 in 2019/20.
Zoe Billingham, HM Inspector of Constabulary, said: ‘The proportion of cases closed is eye-wateringly high.’
Police chiefs should treat violence against women as seriously as terrorism and stop ditching an ‘eye-water- ing’ number of crimes, a watchdog has said (stock image)
She added: ‘Chief constables should frankly get a grip and ensure that they consistently provide high standards and use powers and tools they already have.’
Now the watchdog wants violence against women to be treated as seriously as top policing priorities like terrorism.
The report was commissioned after the killing of 33-year-old Sarah Everard.
The review of how police respond to violence against women and girls revealed that forces are failing to provide information to women asking if their boyfriend has a history of domestic violence, with some forces only disclosing information in one in nine requests.
Known as Clare’s Law, after Clare Wood who was murdered in 2009 by an ex-boyfriend with a violent past, the domestic violence disclosure scheme is also open to concerned friends and family.
Shockingly, some women are waiting up to 150 days to hear whether their partner has a criminal history, when inspectors believe officers should be responding within weeks to prevent future attacks by serial perpetrators.
Only around half of requests lead to information being disclosed to women and forces were unable to say why they were refusing so often.
Yesterday Miss Billingham said the watchdog had identified ‘problems, unevenness and inconsistencies’ in how forces deal with the ‘epidemic’ of violence against female victims in the UK.
The report based on surveys and interviews with victims, members of the public, police forces and practitioners was commissioned by Home Secretary (pictured)
She said some stalkers and domestic abuse predators are literally ‘laughing’ at the law, as forces are failing to act against those who have repeatedly breached non-molestation orders and officers are also missing serial predators who have struck multiple times.
She added: ‘When you look at the hierarchy of priorities within police forces, very often violence against women and girls doesn’t actually feature as the top three.
‘Given the scale of the epidemic... it’s vital that it does.’ The number of sexual offences recorded by the police has almost tripled in recent years and there was a nine percent increase in the total number of domestic abuse-related offences in the year ending March 2020 compared with the previous year.
The report based on surveys and interviews with victims, members of the public, police forces and practitioners was commissioned by Home Secretary.