Home Sec focuses on domestic violence in conference speech

17 May 2016

Significant progress has been made in policing domestic abuse, the Home Secretary has told the Police Federation annual conference.

Theresa May said the police service has made ‘real improvements’ in the way it tackles domestic abuse, following a damning report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s (HMIC) on the police response to domestic abuse in 2014. 

That report uncovered a ‘shameful attitude’ by some officers towards victims of violence and abuse including one officer who accidentally recorded themselves calling a victim ‘a bitch’. However, the Home Secretary said considerable changes had taken place in the last two years and she commended all those who have shown ‘a real commitment to protecting vulnerable people from appalling violence and abuse’.

Every police force in England and Wales now has an action plan to tackle domestic violence and body worn video has boosted the quality of evidence gathered. In 2014/15, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) recorded the highest ever number of police referrals, prosecutions and convictions for domestic abuse.

However, a problem of officers forming relationships with domestic abuse victims is to be examined as part of force inspections, according to the Home Secretary.  Though when asked she didn’t know the figures for how many incidents there have been, Ms May told conference delegates that some officers still displayed ‘a shameful attitude’ towards victims of domestic abuse, including entering into relationships with them.

The Home Secretary revealed she had written to Sir Tom Winsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) to ask him to investigate the issue during Legitimacy inspections later this year. Legitimacy inspections form part of HMIC’s annual PEEL inspections.