VICTIMS of domestic violence in Gloucestershire are being let down by police, according to a new report.
A national review by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) of how the UK’s 43 police forces deal with domestic violence found there were “significant concerns” in the county.
HM Inspector for Wales and the West Dru Sharpling said she was concerned both with how victims were treated by the police when they first sought help and the ability of the force to subsequently protect the victim.
“There are weaknesses in the way the constabulary deals with domestic abuse at the first point of contact and in the ability of the constabulary to consistently provide an effective response to safeguarding victims,” she said.
She said that “swift action” was required because while domestic abuse victims received good support from Gloucestershire’s Public Protection Bureau, the treatment victims received from police was “disjointed and inconsistent”.
Figures show within the county domestic abuse accounts for three per cent of all calls made to the police, and that nearly half of these calls were from repeat victims.
In addition, six per cent of all crime recorded in Gloucestershire involved some form of domestic abuse.
Richard Berry, assistant chief constable with Gloucestershire police, said the report was a snapshot of the force that failed to reflect changes already made.
“Work has been under way for many months into how we deal with domestic abuse, including reviewing the frontline service we offer to victims,” he said.
“We are committed to keeping people in Gloucestershire safe from harm.”
Gloucestershire Police was one of four forces criticised by the report, along with the Greater Manchester, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire forces.
A scheme to tackle domestic violence called Clare’s Law was trialled in Wiltshire, Gwent, West Mercia and Greater Manchester, enabling people to find out if their current partner has a history of domestic violence.
It has now been rolled out nationally.