Wiltshire Police and PCC reinforce commitment to tackling sexual offences and domestic violence
We're reinforcing our commitment to tackling sexual offences and domestic violence in the county.
Improved awareness within our communities and increased public confidence in the police when reporting crime means we've recorded 19 per cent more sexual offences in the year ending September 2017 and a one per cent rise in domestic violence in the year ending March 2017.
Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson funds a number of victim support services to ensure all those affected by crime are supported through the investigation process and any later court action, this includes victims and witnesses.
Angus Macpherson said, "In recent years, Wiltshire Police has done lots of work in raising awareness and increasing public confidence when reporting crime. This plays a role in the increase seen in the past 12 months, as well as substantial improvements in the way crime is now recorded, rated "Good" by HMICFRS by recording 95% crime correctly.
"This is particularly relevant when looking at reports of sexual offences and domestic abuse, crime we know has been greatly under-reported in the past.
"People must have the confidence to talk to police and know that they will be listened to.
"However, the Force cannot be complacent and must remain focused when it comes to tackling crime.
"Wiltshire are successful in securing convictions in court however I am challenging Wiltshire Police to do more in improving the quality of investigations and bring more offenders to justice.
"Both I and Wiltshire Police have invested in improving officer and staff training, case file preparation and services to support victims through the criminal justice service."
Last year, the Force appointed a former lawyer to ensure the integrity and quality of sexual offence investigations being sent to the Criminal Prosecution Service (CPS) in order to improve conviction rates in cases sent to court.
Superintendent Deb Smith, Head of Public Protection, said: "We are dedicated to supporting all victims from the point they contact us right through to the conclusion of any criminal process.
"We are also continually looking at the way we approach and investigate crimes such as a domestic violence or rape and serious sexual assault to constantly improve the quality of these investigations.
"For the last year, we've had a dedicated Rape and Serious Sexual Offence tactical lead within the force and we also commissioned a former lawyer to check and test the quality of the investigation right through to preparation for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
"This will ensure that victims of these types of crime receive the best support and that our investigations are of the highest possible quality.
"We also work incredibly closely with partner agencies when dealing with these types of times. We hold a weekly meeting with partners to discuss high risk cases, solving issues together and supporting victims. We have done this for more than ten years with over 20 victims being discussed each week.
"It is also important that victims of domestic abuse know about the different pathways open to them. The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDs), for example, allows a person worried about the past of the partner or the partner of a loved one to find out if previous abuse has been disclosed. In 2016, we had 250 applications for DVDs.
"My overriding message is clear - we will always listen, believe and act."
We encourage all victims of abuse to report it. Call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency, or contact the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) on 0808 168 0024. This helpline is available 24 hours a day.