PCC welcomes new moves to further safeguard domestic abuse and sexual assault victims
Wiltshire and Swindon's Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed the latest Home Office moves to reform pre-charge bail to keep victims safer during the investigation process.
Earlier today, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a raft a measures which which will be bought before Parliament in a major criminal justice bill as soon as parliamentary time allows.
The new measures include:
- Police will have to consider key risk factors – including safeguarding victims – when deciding on bail
- They will also be able to impose strict conditions on the release of suspects of domestic abuse and sexual violence
- Changes will be named ‘Kay’s Law,’ in memory of victim Kay Richardson
- New bail timelines will also cut bureaucracy for police and stop individuals being held under investigation for long periods.
Angus Macpherson agreed the newly-announced measures, which will ensure individuals are not held on bail for unreasonable lengths of time but enable police to impose strict bail conditions in high-harm cases including domestic abuse and sexual assault, are a good move.
"I thoroughly support more powers for police to further safeguard victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault," he said.
"Ensuring the victims and witnesses are at the heart of everything we do in the county has been a key priority of mine for some time and one which I am passionate about.
"We want victims to have the confidence to report domestic abuse and sexual offences while providing tailored support to the most vulnerable victims. The Horizon team commissioned by my office provides just this.
"It is so important that those people who have been victims of the most seriously distressing crimes feel protected and safe while their allegations are investigated.
"It is also right that I will ensure that bail is appropriately used by Wiltshire Police, as set out in the suggested frameworks, balancing this additional safety whilst respecting the rights of those being investigated."
The full package of reforms will be named ‘Kay’s Law’ in memory of Kay Richardson, who was murdered by her ex-partner following his release under investigation, despite evidence of previous domestic abuse.
The name ‘Kay’s Law’ also intends to help raise awareness of the new reforms amongst police and the public, and encourage greater use of pre-charge bail where necessary and proportionate, as well as increased engagement with victims.