Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed the interim report: Inspection into how effectively the police engage with women and girls published today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
The report finds there is an immediate need for a radical cross-sector reform to protect women and girls from violent offences. Whilst recognising the vast improvements that police forces have made in responding to these crimes over the last decade, the recommendation is that a more joined up approach with partners, including the Crown Prosecution Service, health, social care and education, is needed as it is recognised that the police cannot tackle this alone.
The report makes three recommendations: to transform the system with all partners prioritising the response to violence against women and girls; that the police should pursue and disrupt adult perpetrators and be resourced to do so; and that structures and funding should be in place to ensure victims receive appropriate support.
Dr Alan Billings said: “We have seen an increase in violence against women and girls, and the murder of Sarah Everard tragically and graphically illustrated that.
“This inspector’s report is welcomed as it reinforces my own determination to offer women and girls greater protection from violence.
“This is already one of the top priorities in my Police and Crime Plan for the coming year which is shortly to be published. It is also a priority for the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.
“I shall be asking the Force to check against the recommendations of the inspector to ensure that we are doing as much as we can here in South Yorkshire.
“One significant initiative of my own staff is to try to have a better understanding of how the criminal justice system treats women who have been sexually assaulted, as they go through the justice system.
“We are looking at the journey they make and what their experiences are to see whether improvements are needed and what they should be.
“But we should not forget that most violence occurs between members of the same household – domestic abuse – and we have already been giving additional funding throughout the past year to help them improve their services.”
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is currently putting together bids for the latest round of the Safer Streets Fund which is focussed reducing violence against women and girls.
The full HMICFRS interim report can be viewed here: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/publications/interim-report-inspection-into-how-effectively-the-police-engage-with-women-and-girls/