In the wake of nationally low levels of confidence in how the police tackle violence against women/girls, including police perpetrated violence, Devon and Cornwall Police has today pledged its ongoing commitment to tackling this serious issue after the publication of the first national NPCC report into police performance.
Today’s NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council) report has also published national amalgamated figures on police perpetrated violence against women and girls. Of the 1539 cases reported, 20 were related to allegations of misconduct of officers and staff at Devon and Cornwall Police. Women are right to remain concerned.
As a strategic priority for the Force, a range of measures have been put in place across Devon and Cornwall, including “building trust and confidence in communities; relentless perpetrator pursuit and safer spaces for women and girls”.
Deputy Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “I welcome today’s report into violence against women and girls and police performance. While I know that our communities will be rightly concerned, the data published in the report is from October 2021 to March 2022 and since then the Force has implemented a range of tangible measures to tackle this vital issue.
“We continue to work closely with our partners to gather intelligence and data and improve criminal justice outcomes for victims. We are also committed to ensuring that our counties are a safe place and have worked on a range of initiatives as part of our commitment to keep woman and girls safe from harm.
“Part of this commitment has been to ensure more safer spaces across Devon and Cornwall particularly at night. These are places where any member of the public can go if they are feeling vulnerable or concerned about predatory behaviour. We are also taking part in a national initiative where members of the public can use an online tool to report locations where they may not feel safe. This information is considered alongside any evidence base and used to inform the community safety activities of police and partner agencies such as local authorities. This might include improved streetlighting, increased vigilance by community Watch groups or additional scrutiny from neighbourhood policing teams.”
Devon and Cornwall Police continues to roll out pro-active operations where officers carry out targeted patrols across Devon and Cornwall to reduce sexual violence and predatory behaviour and protect women and girls from harm. The aim of these operations is to safeguard the public and reassure them that the police are there if needed.
The Force is also part of Operation Soteria which adopts best practice from other areas and practical elements of academic research to improve the response of the police service to victims of rape and sexual offences and their experience of the criminal justice process. This has resulted in a greater number of cases going to court, a quicker time period from an initial report to resolution and better support for victims.
DCC Colwell added: “It is vital that we focus on our own internal culture and professional standards and behaviour to ensure that our communities have trust and confidence in us. There is no place for misogynistic or inappropriate behaviour in our force and we are determined to root this out.
“We are investing in specialist staff and reporting channels to ensure we have robust procedures for police misconduct. We encourage all employees to report concerns through confidential channels and ensure that reports are thoroughly investigated. Members of the public can also report inappropriate behaviour via our website or through Crimestoppers.”