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Police progress against new framework on violence against women and girls

01 Mar 2022

Police forces are making good progress in implementing wide-ranging action to improve the police response to violence against women and girls. 

In December 2021, the NPCC and College of Policing published a new police framework on violence against women and girls, which will see a fundamental shift in the priority of violence against women and girls and give victims a consistently high standard of service wherever they are.

The framework was developed under the leadership of the new National Police Lead for VAWG, Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth and informed by experts in policing, government and the VAWG sector.

DCC Maggie Blyth was appointed to her role in October, following a recommendation by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) in their Interim Report: Inspection into how effectively the police engage with women and girls.

The NPCC has accepted all the recommendations to it in HMICFRS’s report and the new police VAWG framework incorporates these recommendations.

Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth said:

“The last year has seen some tragic and shocking incidences of violence against women and girls. There have been abhorrent examples of abuse or misogyny by police officers.

“We have a good plan for change in policing to better protect women and girls from violence and root out misogyny in our own ranks.  Experts in the VAWG sector have helped shape it and all forces are implementing it.  I will review progress to ensure we are delivering as well as enabling others to scrutinise our progress.

“The Government’s decision to make tackling violence against women and girls a strategic policing requirement reinforces the commitment already made by police chiefs to prioritise making women and girls safer.”

A new police framework launched in December 2021 set out action required from every police force to make women and girls safer.  Priority action is to challenge sexism and misogyny in policing and to turn the tables so violent men feel under threat from police action, not women and girls going about their lives.

Key actions being implemented by police forces:

  • Communicating clearly and frequently that misogynistic, sexist and sexualised behaviour will not be tolerated by anyone in policing and strengthening the ‘call it out’ culture where people act as upstanders, not bystanders. 
  • Responding unequivocally to allegations of police-perpetrated abuse, learning from mistakes and best practice with an urgent review of all current allegations of sexual misconduct, domestic abuse and other VAWG-related offences against officers and staff, ensuring that they are being investigated fully and quickly.
  • Expanding and enhancing processes for listening to women and girls - whether they’re reporting a crime or a place where they’ve felt unsafe – and actively seeking the views of those who have little or no trust in policing. Women’s voices will then shape police action plans and police forces will involve them in scrutinising their performance on VAWG.

  • Increased action against violent men. Proactively identifying individuals who pose the highest risk of harm to women and girls, and actively managing them to prevent or reduce offending. Greater use of protective and preventative tools and orders, such as domestic violence protection orders and stalking protection orders, and swifter action on breaches.
  • NPCC led and Home Office funded programme Op Soteria is underway that will see five police forces and CPS areas work with academics to transform how the police and CPS handle investigations into rape and sexual offences. It will result in a new model for rape investigation to be adopted nationally.

By March 2022, all forces will be asked to complete action plans against the VAWG framework.

Experts in policing, government and the VAWG sector have informed the framework and will continue to be involved in monitoring and evaluating its impact. By early April 2022, the NPCC and College of Policing will publish an outcomes and performance framework developed in consultation with the VAWG sector, this will set out expected outcomes and performance measures for the framework. 

Additionally, NPCC has called on all chief constables to take every possible step to root out those who do not uphold our standards including:

  • Chairing accelerated hearings wherever the grounds are met, to swiftly determine the facts, to exonerate the innocent, but to remove those guilty of misconduct from the service.
  • Making submissions to the chairs of those independent panels, wherever appropriate, so that sanctions always meet the gravity of an offence.
  • Seeking judicial review when a decision has been made to retain someone in the service who we believe undermines our culture and the standards that the public rightly expect of us.
  • Being as open and transparent about misconduct proceedings as possible.