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Suffolk: Major steps to tackle ‘intolerable’ domestic violence

PUBLISHED: 09:42 06 August 2014

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore has insisted he is not hatching up a secret plan to privatise the forces front-line services.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore has insisted he is not hatching up a secret plan to privatise the forces front-line services.

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Major steps to tackle the “intolerable” crimes of domestic violence have been announced by Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner as new figures are released showing that thousands of reported attacks in the county meet no further action.

PCC Tim Passmore said he takes the offences “extremely seriously” and resources would be targeted at supporting victims while bringing perpetrators to justice.

His comments were made after figures released by Suffolk Constabulary revealed that 4,753 domestic violence related incidents over the past four years had been dealt with by “no further action” - the most common of all disposal methods.

Women’s Aid, a charity supporting domestic abuse victims, which runs a centre in Ipswich, said taking no further action “sends the message that police will not prioritise protecting women”.

Mr Passmore, however, claimed the figures would look ”very different” in a year’s time when his new measures took effect in tackling the “intolerable” crime.

“We are really ratcheting up the resources and capabilities we’ve got here in Suffolk to confront this dreadful problem,” he said, “The proof of the pudding will be in the eating but we are putting resources towards it in a fairly major way.”

Mr Passmore recently secured £245,000 of government funding to appoint seven new independent domestic violence advisors to counsel the victims of crime. He has also commissioned University Campus Suffolk to carry out new research into the extent of the problem and its impact on victims. And further work with the National Probation Service has also been announced to cut down on reoffending.

“It’s a twin track approach,” he said, “Dealing with the offenders and supporting the victims, which will hopefully inspire confidence in the system.”

Suffolk’s domestic violence figures show that 29,842 incidents have been reported in the past four years, with 1,734 dealt with by caution, 2,368 by charging the suspect and bailing them and 1,262 by charging and detaining. The greater number of reports dealt with by no further action - 4,753 - has caused concern among politicians and charities.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid said: “Taking no further action sends the message that the police will not prioritise protecting women experiencing domestic violence, despite the fact that two women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner.

“We urge every force to provide regular specialist-led training in domestic violence for every officer, to ensure that domestic violence is always taken seriously in future.”

Diana Johnson MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Office Minister said: “It is deeply worrying that almost 5,000 reported incidents of domestic abuse have been dropped by Suffolk Constabulary with no further action since 2010.

“Labour has been calling on the Government to take action.”

Detective Superintendent Dave Cutler said Suffolk Constabulary is committed to taking positive action to tackle domestic abuse. “We know that victims of abuse come from every walk of life and every community and it is really important to us that any person suffering from domestic abuse has the confidence to speak to us and seek the support and assistance they deserve,” he added.

“Whilst we want to prevent domestic abuse occurring in the first place we want to encourage those who have been or are being abused to contact us so that with our partners we can help protect vulnerable victims and their families and interrupt the cycles of horrific abuse that individuals go through.”

If you are a victim of domestic violence and could assist with Mr Passmore’s research, contact Stuart Agnew at the university Campus Suffolk on s.agnew@ucs.ac.uk or call 01473 338559.

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