Tackling domestic abuse is a clear priority for Northamptonshire Police as the force continues its focus on protecting people from harm.
The 2015 Her Majesty s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) highlighted good work by the police in its response to Domestic Abuse following the Increasingly everyone s business inspection.
The report recognised the priority placed on this form of abuse, the improvements made in risk assessments, improvements in officer attitudes to victims and the commitment by officers and staff to protect victims.
Since the inspection, the force has continued to make strides in the way it deals with this form of appalling crime.
Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Swann, said: The HMIC inspection highlighted progress that the force has made in tackling domestic abuse which accounts for a large proportion of violent crime in our county.
It also rightly highlighted areas where we could make improvements which we have worked hard since the inspection to develop and address.
puWe continue to make a strong commitment to improving the lives of those affected by domestic abuse .
The recommendations for Northamptonshire Police and the progress against these are set out below.
Recommendation: Forces should develop a dashboard of indicators to improve understanding of how strategy is converting into service delivery while having an eye on future Home Office Annual Data Return requests.
Response: The force and its partners have developed a suite of measures looking at the nature and scale of domestic abuse to ensure it focusses its resources to keep victims safe and bring offenders to justice. A multi-agency group has been developed which delivers against a partnership strategy.
Recommendation: There should be clear guidance around risk assessments, while awaiting further advice from the College of Policing. If discretionary use of risk assessments are to be exercised, there should be consistent supervisory intrusion to support the correct assessment of risk and improve safeguarding victims.
Response: Following a pilot the force has now adopted a force-wide model for the screening and supervision of domestic abuse incidents and DASH risk assessments which is victim focussed and supports the development of staff. Risks assessments are completed in all cases and their quality is subject to audit to further improve the response by officers.
Recommendation: There should be improvement in officers actions to; establish whether children are present in the premises; talk to children present at domestic abuse incidents; and record relevant information on police systems.
Response: The assessment of risk to children has been enhanced with the development of partnership notifications for domestic abuse incidents. Audits have demonstrated that staff now routinely identify and report children living abusive households.
Recommendation: There should be effective scrutiny of investigations involving domestic abuse by specialist trained supervisors with clear investigative strategies to support officers. There is a need for effective oversight of the allocation of and responses to domestic abuse incidents, including low and medium risk cases.
Response: A new investigative model has been adopted where all domestic abuse crimes are assessed by trained supervisory detectives who manage the investigations enhancing quality and outcomes.
Recommendation: Forces should have clear processes to ensure officers and staff are trained and understand their responsibility in safeguarding and investigating incidents where victims have been identified as standard or medium risk. This should include high quality training on coercive control.
Response: The force rolled out safeguarding training to over 1500 officers and staff. Training in relation to coercive control is being rolled out and further safeguarding training will be delivered to staff during 2016.
Recommendation: There should be focus on disrupting perpetrators and development of practices through use of DVPOs, early arrests and consideration of the integrated offender management process. There should be more development of perpetrator management at a neighbourhood response level.
Response: The force has increased the use of Domestic Abuse Protection Orders recognising their value in keeping victims safe and disrupting perpetrators. A specialist Domestic Abuse team has been developed who focus on those offenders who present the greatest harm, proactively targeting perpetrators and working with victims. Domestic Abuse management is a core part of the local policing tasking and coordinating engaging neighbourhood policing teams and domestic abuse response officers in their response.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from domestic violence, please call 101 to put a stop to it. Further information and advice about domestic abuse can be found on our website www.northants.police.uk