DORSET Police is one of the top 10 police forces in the country for dealing with domestic violence, a report says.
The report, issued by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), assesses the way Dorset Police deals with domestic abuse.
The force’s overall response to tackling domestic violence was praised – making it eighth out of 43 forces in England and Wales. In September 2013 HMIC reviewed all 43 forces in England and Wales as well as speaking to victims of domestic abuse, professionals and public protection experts.
The report states that generally Dorset Police provides a good service to victims of domestic abuse and helps to keep them safe.
But, the report says, improvements must be made to give front-line officers more training and develop a more considered approach to include taking the victim’s view.
It also proposed a review of how medium and standard risk perpetrators are managed so that it can reduce re-offending and improve victim safety.
Councillor Molly Rennie, chairman of the West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum, said she is pleased to hear Dorset Police is in the top 10 of forces.
She said: “This is good news for people looking for help and support here in Dorset.
“It takes so much courage and strength for someone to make a call saying they are experiencing domestic violence.”
However, she said she would like to see better training for front-line officers.
“I want to see them upping their game with front-line training.
“A while ago West Dorset Women’s Refuge used to do training with Dorset Police.
“They were able to deliver quality training from a victim’s point of view. I would like to see that come back.”
The force’s assistant chief constable David Lewis said: “We continue to train our frontline staff in public protection issues and are continually reviewing our processes.
“Dorset Police has seen a rise in the number of reported cases of domestic abuse in recent years and I believe this is largely due to victims willing to report it to the police and take action against the perpetrator.
“We have taken a number of steps to help support victims in reporting these crimes and we work in close partnership with other support agencies. The force was found to have a ‘well-developed’ and ‘effective’ response to high risk victims, and its staff work well with partners in external agencies.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “The inspection has also highlighted some areas for improvement and I will be working with the Chief Constable and other chief officers to ensure that the policing response to domestic abuse and violence in Dorset continues to develop and improve.”