Police chief orders review into cases of violence against women

Nusrat Ghani
TOP RANKS: Matthew Scott [left] and Alan Pughsley

The initiative has been ordered by Chief Constable Alan Pughsley as part of a move to ‘reassure’ victims they will receive ‘exemplary service’ from the force.

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, had sought assurances from the Chief Constable that the force is dealing with violence against women and girls as a priority.  

Mr Scott said he was concerned that during the pandemic there has been a rise in the number of domestic abuse incidents being reported to the police, as well as a rise in stalking and harassment. 

Since March 2020, when coronavirus first struck the UK, Kent Police has seen nearly a ten per cent rise in incidents of domestic violence, with 3,233 more victims coming forward than in the previous year.

The force handled nearly 36,000 reports of the crime in 2020, compared to just over 32,000 reports in 2019.

Tunbridge Wells domestic abuse charity, DAVSS [Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Service] saw an increase or around 400 referrals in the same year, many of which were described as ‘high priority’.

During his quarterly Performance and Delivery Board Meeting, Mr Scott raised the issue of domestic violence and other crimes against women with Chief Constable Alan Pughsley.

He said: “How would the force assess the topic of violence against women and girls in the country at the moment and what action is being taken to respond to any concerns?”

Mr Pughsley replied: “I hope you are reassured that the main crime types where women are the victims has always been and will always be a priority for Kent Police.

Mr Scott added that female victims of crime are ‘at the heart’ of his priorities, and has now called for a review into their treatment.

He said: “The crime types where women are predominantly the victims are domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, coercion and control; similarly, the plethora of sexual offences from rape down to so-called lower level sexual touching.

“These victims have always been at the heart of our priority area and we’ve already spoken about the high level of victim satisfaction with the police response in dealing with their cases. 

“But what I’ve done on top of that is ask for a review on the focus of any women who are victims of any crime type.

“That review is going on as we speak. I’m sure you’ll be reassured that if you’re a woman victim of crime in Kent, you will receive exemplary service.”

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