Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire Police 'judgemental' of domestic abuse victims

Generic image of someone holding hands up in a defensive move Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Staffordshire Police was found to discourage victims of domestic abuse from making complaints

Some victims of domestic abuse are treated by Staffordshire Police in a "judgemental and unsupportive" way and are not being adequately protected, a government inspection has found.

The report said a number of officers discouraged victims reporting abuse and allegations were disbelieved.

The force was also criticised for not carrying out risk assessments in domestic abuse cases.

Chief Constable Jane Sawyers said she was "addressing all the issues raised".

Updates on this story and others from Staffordshire

The force was praised by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) for its "preparedness to tackle child sexual exploitation", although inspectors found not all staff had completed mandatory training.

The inspectorate also found action taken by staff responding to missing children was "inconsistent, with little evidence of supervision in the early stages".

The report concluded Staffordshire Police's response to vulnerable people was "a cause of concern" and the force should "immediately assess the behaviour of its staff towards vulnerable people", particularly around the effectiveness of training.

Image caption Chief Constable Jane Sawyers said the force would "address all the issues raised"

HMIC criticised the fact a "significant proportion" of domestic abuse cases are investigated by non-specialist staff.

There is a lack of planning for tackling domestic abuse inquiries, poor supervision and examples of victims not being informed about progress in their cases, the report found.

Mrs Sawyers said: "We focus on taking great care to protect the vulnerable and have done so for many years, so we take this report very seriously.

"The protection of those who are most vulnerable is the responsibility of everyone in policing."

Staffordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said: "Staffordshire police must accept there are failings in the way they deal with and support some vulnerable people, specifically in relation to domestic abuse.

"These failings are not minor issues and the chief constable has accepted the need to significantly improve the force's approach."

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