A police boss has vowed to step up the campaign against the “scourge” of domestic violence and called on other agencies to do more to help tackle the problem.
According to North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, the extent and nature of domestic abuse remains shocking with seven victims being killed in England and Wales every month.
Mr Jones, a former police officer, revealed at a conference in Cardiff organised in association with Welsh Women’s Aid that one in four of young people aged 10 to 24 say they have experienced domestic violence and abuse during their childhood.
Tackling the issue, he said, was one of the commissioner’s main priorities when he took office in May and he found £163,000 to fund the purchase an extra 301 body worn cameras which are said to be particularly useful in investigating domestic abuse cases.
As a result North Wales Police will become the first force in Wales to provide all frontline officers with access to the technology when they’re on duty.
In addition, by January next year the force will have given specialist training to every officer in how to deal with cases of domestic abuse.
But Mr Jones stressed: “Domestic violence is just one example of many where the police cannot deal with the problem in isolation.
“The issues arising out of cases involving domestic violence and indeed modern slavery, child sexual exploitation, and other serious crimes are often much wider than just policing, and an effective response can only be delivered in partnership.
“Local authorities have a significant part to play and it is my view, and that of the Chief Constable of North Wales Police, that our partners could and should do more to support the Police in tackling these serious offences.
“Domestic abuse causes both serious harm and constitutes a considerable proportion of overall crime. It costs society an estimated £15.7 billion a year.
“Crime relating to domestic abuse constitutes some eight percent of all recorded crime in England and Wales and one third of their recorded assaults with injury.
“On average the police receive an emergency call relating to domestic abuse every 30 seconds.
“Since being elected, one of my early successes was ensuring that every North Wales Police officer on the frontline has access to body worn video equipment.
“This equipment has been introduced to ensure a higher quality of evidence and to increase the number of perpetrators arrested and convicted in domestic abuse cases.
“These cases are extremely difficult to prove. We have secured a number of prosecutions in domestic violence cases as a result of the evidence provided by body worn video.
“We have also received positive feedback from the Crown Prosecution Service respect of the quality of the evidence.
“By January 2017 all police constables at North Wales Police will have received tailored training in relation to domestic violence.”
Mr Jones wants to see a more “joined up approach” with more work done with the perpetrators of domestic violence so that it can be prevented in the first place.
He added: “Such services shouldn’t be seen as being in competition with victims’ services since both types of services can and should complement each other.
“My office is in constant discussion with the management team at the new Wrexham prison, HMP Berwyn, regarding the development of revolutionary perpetrator programmes.
“I am adamant that we must take advantage of the tremendous opportunity the opening of Berwyn provides in respect of perpetrator rehabilitation in North Wales.
“By ensuring that agencies work together to deliver services we would be better able to sustain the services in the long term, which can only be a good thing for service users.
“Domestic violence is a hideous crime and a scourge on society.
“The fact that seven victims of domestic violence are killed every month in England and Wales makes it an obvious priority.
“There’s an emotional cost, there’s a cost to society and there’s a financial cost and I think it’s a responsibility to us all to prioritise things of this nature.
“I would certainly encourage victims to come forward, either by reporting the matter directly to the police or by getting in touch with a partner agency.”