On Friday, 17 February, the NPCC leads for Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), Rape and Serious Sexual Offences and Domestic Abuse wrote to all Chief Constables in anticipation of the Home Office announcement that VAWG would be included in the Strategic Policing Requirement.
Dear Chief Constable,
Inclusion of VAWG within the Strategic Policing Requirement
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to tackling the epidemic that is violence against women and girls, and for your prioritisation in this area. As outlined in our progress report in September 2022, we know how much forces are focused on VAWG. However, we also know there is a long way to go to prevent and manage the risk associated with the perpetrators of this crime and to ensure a wider societal responsibility for VAWG.
In advance of the anticipated Government announcement about the Strategic Policing Requirement 2023 which, as previously announced, includes VAWG, we wanted to write to highlight we welcome the Government’s intention to put VAWG on an equal footing with that of terrorism and serious and organised crime.
We are in discussion with the Home Office to ensure that tackling VAWG, like Counter Terrorism, is adequately funded. Between April 2021 and March 2022, 128 women lost their lives as a result of VAWG and we continue to track every death in a domestic setting. In order to reduce this number we need to have both the capacity and the capability to tackle it effectively, learning from the approach taken in Counter Terrorism to reducing the threat. Our VAWG Strategic Threat and Risk Assessment (STRA), to be published in April 2023, will help outline the extent of the threat, risk and demand in VAWG.
There are areas which we wanted to highlight:
We must keep a focus on the most dangerous and repeat VAWG perpetrators, ensuring first responders, public protection teams and local neighbourhood teams are all aware of those in their local areas. We expect forces to continue to identify, review and flag those perpetrators who cause most harm to women, in line with NPCC and College of Policing guidance. We already identify and track domestic abuse perpetrators across all forces but it is important that we demonstrate our commitment to relentlessly pursuing men that are violent to women by proactively identifying and reviewing those most dangerous individuals. These perpetrators will be added to ViSOR and should be managed as serious violent and sexual offenders, where appropriate. We understand that it is likely the Government will announce changes to Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) to include DA perpetrators sentenced for coercive and controlling behaviour and sentenced to 12 months or more.
The take-up of Operation Soteria Bluestone will make improvements to the policing response to all vulnerability, and not just in Rape and Serious Sexual Offences. The new national operating model is to be published in June 2023. We encourage forces to adopt and remain up to date with DA Matters training and prioritise the use of Domestic Abuse Risk Assessments (DARA).
The ‘VAWG – Performance and Insights’ publication will be released in March 2023, which will inform where policing must focus next to tackle VAWG. All force VAWG Chief Officer leads have been invited to a headlines’ briefing and we are engaging with stakeholders across the VAWG sector on the findings.
Whilst the SPR doesn’t explicitly reference tackling police-perpetrated VAWG, this remains a top priority to rebuild trust and confidence and must remain a focus. The NPCC and College of Policing are hosting a two-day Culture and Conduct event on 15 and 16 May for VAWG leads, Heads of PSD and strategic leaders of People Directorates. This will focus on improving workplace culture and tackling police-perpetrated VAWG cases; please ask your senior leaders to prioritise their attendance.
Thank you all for your continued support in tackling VAWG.