HMICFRS Interim report: Inspection into how effectively the police engage with women and girls
Response from: Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Hampshire
While Hampshire Constabulary was not named in this interim report, the findings are significant. I want all victims to feel safe coming forward to report, knowing that the police will listen and feeling confident that justice will be served. Currently, too many victims feel unable to support a prosecution, or later withdraw from the process. We must all work harder to earn their trust and we need services in place that enable this to happen. It is tragic that it took the murder of Sarah Everard for society to recognise that violence against women and girls (VAWG) is an epidemic in this country.
HMICFRS recognise “The number of sexual offences recorded by the police has almost tripled in recent years. This increase reflects improvements in police recording and the increased confidence of victims in reporting sexual offences. However, comparison of police crime figures with CSEW self-reported data on crimes experienced shows that the number of offences recorded by the police remains well below the number of actual victims.”
Whilst the police have a key role to play in tackling VAWG, it is a societal wide issue and we must all play our part in stopping it. As joint APCC Victims Lead I am committed to bringing criminal justice partners together to ensure we deliver improvements across local criminal justice services as set out in the interim report. Many PCCs are also responsible for leading local Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), delivering a wide range of interventions and support to tackle perpetrators, support victims and embed prevention across our communities.
It is imperative that we work together to prevent crimes happening in the first place through better education and awareness, and working to change repeat offenders’ behaviour.
Police and Crime Commissioner
There should be an immediate and unequivocal commitment that the response to VAWG offences is an absolute priority for government, policing, the criminal justice system, and public sector partnerships. This needs to be supported at a minimum by a relentless focus on these crimes; mandated and clear responsibilities; and sufficient funding so that all partner agencies can work effectively as part of a whole-system approach to reduce and prevent the harms these offences are causing.
Tackling VAWG requires the input and action from across partnerships. As a leading voice for victims I will ensure the ongoing commitment to challenge not just the force, but our partner agencies to ensure the needs of the victim are kept at the heart of the CJS.
The relentless pursuit and disruption of adult perpetrators should be a national priority for the police, resourced with the appropriate level of capability and capacity.
We will continue to challenge Hampshire Constabulary on their proactive disruption of perpetrators, this include early detection to prevent ongoing and future harm to others.
Structures and funding should be put in place to make sure victims receive tailored and consistent support.
As commissioners of local victim support services, PCCs are already commissioning a wide range of specialist services to support women and girls who have been victims of domestic abuse, rape and sexual violence. We work closely with local victims charities to ensure these essential services are in place and delivering across our communities. But we want to do even more. Sustainable funding would help us work with local victim support organisations to plan for the long term.