Alarm at 6,000 domestic abuse cases in a year
- Credit: Archant
Soaring numbers of domestic abuse crimes are being reported in Suffolk – with more than 6,000 cases opened in a year.
A total of 6,024 reports were logged by police from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, an increase of 27 per cent against a three-year average and the equivalent of 16 a day.
However, just 18pc – one in five – of those cases were solved, which is down 10.5pc. More than half of victims (54pc) did not support a police investigation.
Speaking at an Accountability and Performance Panel meeting, Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp said there was a direct correlation between an increase in reporting and the dramatic rise (13pc) in victims not wanting to support a prosecution. He said the same amount of staff were dealing with investigations, but that police were seeing fewer people wanting to engage.
There were also evidential difficulties – caused by the time it sometimes takes for people to report abuse, he added.
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Suffolk's crime commissioner Tim Passmore said the force has come a long way in supporting victims of domestic abuse over the last few years.
Around £2million has been invested, and there are now more than a dozen full-time officers dedicated to solving this type of crime.
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But there is a need to take things forward, and increase the solved rate – but with a fresh understanding as to why some victims find it difficult to co-operate with investigations, he added.
'There is a slight reluctance with some victims to take prosecutions forward and that is a concern,' he said. 'There appears to be a number of reasons why this happens, we need to find out what they are and understand them. We are hoping to appoint a new victim survey co-ordinator and they will be responsible for looking into these reasons and helping to improve the solved rate. We also need more offenders to be given tough sentences, so it acts as a deterrent.'
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) chiefs said they are committed to bringing perpetrators to justice, adding that the rate of successful convictions for Suffolk was found to be above average at 82pc, according to the 2016-17 Violence Against Woman and Girls Report.
Those affected by issues should call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
Special panels have been set up to try to improve police performance in dealing with domestic abuse and ensure that everything possible is being learned from best practice from all forces.
The report to the Accountability and Performance Panel said: 'The Domestic Abuse Delivery Board continues to deliver on the Constabulary Domestic Abuse (DA) strategy organised under the 4 P headings (Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare).
'Comprehensive analysis of DA performance data have allowed strategic managers to focus internal efforts on areas of required improvement.
'Local internal scrutiny panels have been developed to ensure a collective ownership of improvement in policing performance. These panels allow for management focus on the use of Body Worn Video and investigative/ safeguarding standards delivered by front line staff to ensure that best practice is captured and learning shared across the Constabulary.'