SafeLives welcome the Police Foundation's Strategic Review of Policing
We warmly welcome the Police Foundation’s Strategic Review of Policing in England and Wales, and the publication of their first Insights paper which focuses on public’s perceptions of – and priorities for – today’s police service.
We’re encouraged to see strong signs that the public support a focus on domestic abuse and other serious violence, not simply burglary and car crime as has been suggested in some quarters recently. The paper finds that the public make an assessment of the ‘harm’ or ‘impact’ implicit with a given issue when formulating a view on police priorities, and recognise and mandate the police to attend to harms that often go unreported and occur out of the public gaze.
Each year, nearly two million adults in England and Wales, and many more children experience domestic abuse. There is no ‘typical’ victim – it affects people behind all types of front door, whether humble or grand, and causes decades of harm – physical, emotional and often economic. Domestic abuse comprises over 30% of violent crime and so it is crucial that it remains a police priority.
The paper finds that the public have a ‘traditional’ view of the police role – enforcement to stop crime – however, discussion led to reflection on the need for ‘broader, systematic, multi-agency’ work and a more ‘radical conversation about how to deliver public safety in the 21st century’. The police are a vitally important part of the response to domestic abuse, but they must be part of a wider system. Proper resources, combined with effective training and a system which connects up community support with police, health and wider societal shifts, can end it.
We look forward to working with the Police Foundation as their review continues – ensuring that domestic abuse remains a police priority – so that every victim, survivor and whole family experiencing abuse can become safe sooner.