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Police working to improve outcomes in violence against women and girls

30 Jul 2020

Police working to improve outcomes in violence against women and girls: Custody3

The Crown Prosecution Service has released the latest stats regarding violence against woman and girls.

In a joint statement the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s leads for rape, domestic abuse and charging, said:

“The fall in the number of perpetrators of violence against woman and girls being convicted is very concerning for us. Everyone who joins the police service does so to keep people safe and get justice for victims and whilst we have made great improvements in recent years, every single person involved in these cases knows there is more to do.

“There are a number of reasons behind the drop in cases referred to the CPS by police, many of them are about a change in the way we work. Over recent years we have worked hard with the CPS to streamline the process and have introduced local ‘gatekeepers’ who can test evidence and give investigators advice, helping to improve cases, without the necessity for a referral. There are also CPS ‘drop ins’ at police stations across the country where advice is sought but would not be recorded as a referral.

“However, we are hearing from our officers that it is becoming harder to achieve the standard of evidence required to charge a suspect and get a case into court. Victims tell us clearly how important it is to them to have the evidence tested in this way. Investigators are working incredibly hard to try and reach that standard, but in some occasions when they are unable to do so they are taking local decisions through gatekeepers and supervisors.

“We are also concerned about the increasing length of time it is taking to reach the point of charge. Many issues are contributing to this including more cases, more material and evidence to gather and the high evidential threshold we need to meet.

“The police, the CPS, courts and everyone else in the criminal justice system has one central aim to secure justice for victims and that is reflected through our strong relationships. We are already working in partnership to resolve the issues we face. We have introduced a domestic abuse best practice tool kit and have a joint action plan on rape with the CPS. The ongoing government review of rape will report back soon and we are committed to implementing any recommendations that would see a better level of service for victims.

“When the police and CPS are unable to secure a charge we will still take steps to make sure victims receive support and care and are protected from further harm.”

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, NPCC Lead for Domestic Abuse

Deputy Chief Constable Sarah Crew, NPCC Lead for Rape and Adult Sex Offences

Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen, NPCC Lead for Charging