Wiltshire’s PCC has welcomed calls for fundamental change across policing and other partner agencies to tackle the growing epidemic of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

A report by HMICFRS, published last week, was commissioned by the Home Secretary in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard earlier this year and looked at the policing response to VAWG, from prevention work in schools to the management of the most dangerous offenders.

The report concluded police cannot tackle VAWG alone. It said the whole system – including policing, health and education – must take a fundamentally new approach.

Growing concerns

PCC Philip Wilkinson said: “While I am new to the role of commissioner, I am not new to the growing concerns being voiced daily around the safety of women and girls in our country.

“It is truly shocking victims are still experiencing such a poor service, cases are taking far too long in the criminal justice system and that outcomes for criminal investigations are so low. We must do better for victims and we must ensure justice is served in a timely and consistent manner.

“I am glad it has been recognised that to truly effect change, and make our communities safer places for all, that it is not the job of the police alone, but this isn’t new.

“We know that all statutory agencies should be working together in a more joined-up manner, we know that all police forces deal with VAWG in different ways and that serious, persistent, offenders aren’t being targeted at the earliest opportunity - and it simply isn’t good enough.

“We should be tackling this epidemic in the same multi-agency way we tackle home-grown terrorism, and with as much intensity. Only that way can women and girls have confidence in the police and criminal justice system that is there to protect them.

Safer Streets

Wiltshire OPCC supported Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council to prepare bids for round three of the Safer Streets Government funding - which focuses on improving the safety of public spaces, particularly those areas of potential concern to women and girls.

This is in addition to commissioning specialist support for victims and an independent review of police and CPS services to support Chief Constables and prosecutors to deliver improvements to investigations of rape and serious sexual offences across Wessex. This is in partnership with Hampshire and Dorset OPCCs and their respective police forces.

You can read the HMICFRS report here: New cross-system approach needed to end epidemic of violence against women and girls - HMICFRS (justiceinspectorates.gov.uk)