By Deirdre Tynan • 24 August 2021 • 9:36
The police do not always use protective measures effectively to safeguard women and girls, despite evidence of dedicated officers working to protect victims, a new report has found.
A police super-complaint, submitted by the Centre for Women’s Justice, raised concerns that the police are failing to use protective measures – such as pre-charge bail with conditions and restraining orders – in cases involving violence against women and girls.
Following a joint investigation, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the College of Policing found that there were good examples of the police using these measures.
The report said a common theme from police forces where there was good practice was support from a legal team. However, the report also said there was a lack of understanding within police forces over how and when to use protective measures, which means support for victims is sometimes not good enough and could lead to women and girls being harmed, or victims being less likely to report crime in the future.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary said, “There is an epidemic of crime against women and girls, and protective measures are an important tool for the police to help keep them safe. The police have made vast improvements over the last decade in how they respond to these crimes, but sometimes officers are not aware of the powers available to them, or the processes are confusing – and this could lead to women and girls being harmed.
“Recent changes in legislation will address some of these concerns, but it is essential these changes are communicated to frontline police officers, and that they are given clear guidance to help them understand the law.
“We thank the Centre for Women’s Justice for submitting this super-complaint. Ultimately, making sure women and girls are properly protected is not a matter for the police alone. A joined-up approach across the police, government, criminal justice system and victim support organisations is urgently needed so that victims do not fall between the gaps,” she added on August 23.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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