National Police Chiefs Council publishes first violence against women and girls benchmark
First assessment of police response to violence against women and girls released
The National Police Chiefs’ Council published on 14 March the first assessment of police performance in regard to the response of England and Wales police to violence against women and girls, which is based on data collected between October 2021 and March 2022. The statistics show that more than 1,500 police officers, which equates to 0.7 per cent of the total workforce in March 2022, were accused of violent offences against women and girls during the six-month period.
More specifically, the data reveals that during the period from 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022, 653 conduct cases against 672 individuals were categorised as relating to violence against women and girls by police forces in England and Wales, as well as the British Transport Police (BTP). In addition to this, during the same period, 524 public complaint cases against 867 individuals were recorded.
Of the total recorded public complaints during the period, 63 per cent were categorised as use of force, 9 per cent were categorised as overbearing or harassing behaviour, and 6 per cent were categorised as sexual assault. Of the total recorded conduct cases, 48 per cent were categorised as relating to discreditable conduct, 19 per cent to sexual assault, and 13 per cent to sexual harassment.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Coordinator for Violence Against Women and Girls, Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Maggie Blyth, said: “Our publication today reinforces the urgency and importance of our current mission to lift the stones and root abusers and corrupt individuals out of policing alongside delivering the long term, sustainable improvements to standards, vetting and misconduct processes we have promised.”
The data published also shows that between October 2021 and March 2022, over 507,827 crimes relating to violence against women and girls were recorded, amounting to 16 per cent of all crime over that period. With 61 per cent of investigations finalised without a criminal justice outcome. Commenting specifically on these findings DCC Blyth said: “Our performance data reinforces what we already know - too many cases are closed because of evidential difficulties and victims withdrawing, and too few victims are receiving timely justice. We need to extend the learning from Operation Soteria Bluestone to all forms of violence against women so investigations are focused consistently on the behaviour of suspects and victims receive the service set out in the Victims' Code. This will see us bring more violent perpetrators to justice.”
In December 2021 priority actions were set by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing to ensure that all police forces in England and Wales are adhering to high standards when responding to violence against women and girls. The key actions undertaken by the Police Chiefs in the last 18 months, in response to these priority actions, are detailed and have focused on identifying wrongdoing in police ranks, strengthening vetting and misconduct investigations, and toughening sanctions.