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New report into domestic abuse
HAMPSHIRE police has been told to make improvements in some of the ways it tackles domestic abuse.
An inspection has revealed “there are a number of areas the force needs to strengthen” when it comes to driving down violence in the household.
But the force was also praised for making the issue a priority – and for the staff’s commitment and awareness.
Police bosses have welcomed the report, which comes a month after it was revealed that there had been an increase in reported cases of domestic abuse across the county and the Isle of Wight.
‘Priorities’ In the latest yearly statistics revealed by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, Hampshire recorded 10,393 assaults with injury – of these, 30 per cent were domestic related.
Inspectors said Hampshire’s frontline officers had received training with an emphasis on ensuring victims were safe.
But their report found that improvements were still needed in risk assessment and safety planning for standard and some medium-risk victims.
Inspectors found that some staff did not see tackling domestic abuse as being one of the force’s priorities.
The report revealed that in the 12 months ending in August last year, domestic abuse accounted for six per cent of calls to the police.
Of these calls, three per cent were from repeat victims, while domestic abuse accounted for eight per cent of all crime.
It comes a month after the Office of National Statistics revealed incidents of domestic violence across Hampshire totalled 25,140 in 2012-13 – a rise of 1,672 from 2007-8.
Police bosses said this may have been the result of people having greater confidence in coming forward.
Responding to the findings, Hampshire Constabulary’s Super-intendent Ben Snuggs hailed the success of engagement officers working with the Polish community in Southamp-ton to raise awareness of domestic abuse.
He add-ed: “The force is working to improve how it can identify repeat victims through its IT systems.
“More information on serial domestic abuse perpetrators will be provided to officers, so that they can help to deal with these offenders effectively and help reduce the risk to victims.
Speak Out “The report has also highlighted a number of areas where we can strengthen our response to domestic abuse.”
The report comes just months after Hampshire Constabulary launched its Speak Out campaign, which included a video aimed at encouraging victims, abusers, friends and family to get help in the run-up to the festive period.
Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes described the findings as “reassuring”, with the constabulary taking “positive steps” to prioritise the crime.
“The report also highlights some areas that require attention and where the force can improve its resp-onse,” he said.
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