Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews has welcomed Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s decision to make tackling violence against women and girls a national priority.
The Home Office recently revised the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) – a blueprint setting out how police forces at the local and regional level will respond to the biggest threats to public safety.
The refreshed SPR now includes Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) as an additional national threat. This means it will be treated with the same seriousness as terrorism and serious and organised crime.
It will also mean forces are obliged to maximise opportunities to prevent and pursue VAWG offending.
It comes as the Government responds to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services’ (HMICFRS) inspection of the police response to tackling VAWG.
VAWG includes crimes such as rape and other sexual offences, domestic abuse, stalking, honour-based abuse and other offences including those committed online.
HMICFRS’ inspection said forces needed to respond with ‘greater pace and urgency’ to the epidemic of offending against women and girls, setting out a series of recommendations to strengthen multi-agency working and deliver improvements to victim support and force capability/understanding.
Mr Matthews said: “Protecting women and girls at home, on our streets and online should be a priority for every police force across England and Wales. The inclusion of VAWG in the Strategic Policing Requirement is an important step in restoring hope to women and girls who have been or fear that they may become victims of these crimes. The move gives reassurance to victims and survivors that these offences are now of urgent national importance.
“These awful crimes have impacted women’s safety, confidence and sense of freedom for too long. It is clear that police forces, together with their partners, need to do more to not only tackle the risks. They also need to instigate cultural and behavioural change across wider society by addressing the attitudes that fuel violence in the first place.
“In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, we already take the issue of VAWG seriously. We continue to invest in resources to improve the force’s investigative capabilities to bring more offenders to justice and increase the safety of women and girls on our streets. The national threats highlighted in the SPR are very much the challenges that face local forces on a day-to-day basis. We will be looking closely at the detail of these revisions to ensure women and girls continue to receive the best service and response possible from the force.”
HMICFRS’s inspection on the police response to VAWG called for robust action to strengthen multi-agency working; ensure accountability; improve capability and understanding; and ensure better support for victims.
It highlighted the need for immediate and unequivocal commitment that the response to VAWG offences is an absolute priority for the government, recommended that the relentless pursuit and disruption of adult perpetrators should be a national priority for the police and their capability and capacity to do this should be enhanced while structures and funding should be put in place to make sure victims receive tailored and consistent support.
Telephone 01283 821012
Mobile 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 14th March 2023