Message from Assistant Chief Constable Craig Dibdin on tackling violence against women and girls in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight
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Today (Wednesday 15 December) the National Police Chief’s Council and the College of Policing have set out actions required from every police force in the country to make all women and girls safer.
For us here in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight, our work is already underway to align ourselves to the national framework which seeks to warn violent men who harm women that we are increasing our action against them.
Assistant Chief Constable Craig Dibdin said:"Every day, we know that women and girls experience incidents at school, at work, on public transport, in open spaces, on the street, and at home. Many of these incidents go unreported. Many women feel that sexual harassment is almost an inevitable part of being a woman.
"We know that far more needs to be done to tackle this, whether it is violence in the home, harassment suffered on a night out, on public transport or in open spaces, or cultural practices like female genital mutilation.
"We must recognise, that major societal and cultural changes like this requires not just the police, but support across all sectors. However our role in this is an important one and targeting perpetrators, producing quality case files for investigations and supporting victims though the criminal justice process, and building trust is what we will prioritise.
"To make women and girls safer, we know we must focus on building confidence. This is key to ensuring that women and girls feel they can report incidents to us and get help, whether they are crimes perpetrated by men or feelings of being unsafe, in all settings.
"To do this, we are enhancing our efforts to listen to women and girls, including those from our minority groups, and asking them to join our Independent Advisory Groups (IAGS), to scrutinise our policies and help us get it right for victims. IAGs help us to improve our service. Women’s voices will be a key factor in helping us shape our action plans.
"Violent men who harm women and girls will see increased action against them. Skilled investigators and offender managers are key in identifying individuals who pose the highest risk to prevent harm and reduce offending. If we are unable to bring charges, we will proactively look for opportunities to use other powers and civil orders to prevent further offending.
"Our ambition within our rape and serious sexual offences teams is to continue to improve charge and conviction rates in collaboration with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Great improvements have been made in the policing response to violence against women and girls over the last decade but there is more to do. We are determined to improve the quality of our first response to rape and domestic abuse reports, ongoing support and quality of case files going to the CPS remain our ambition. We have always invested in this area of policing as it has always been a priority us.
"However victims will always be at the heart of our investigations and getting the right support through the investigation and court process is vital. By working with our fantastic advocacy groups and charities, we will endeavour to ensure that that support is right. We can only prosecute when we have victims on board and that’s why confidence and support is so important.
"Within our own organisation, we will ensure that the behaviour of our staff and officers is ethical and that they have the confidence to challenge and report inappropriate behaviour. Misogynistic and sexist behaviour is not and will not be tolerated in our organisation. We will ensure it’s easier to call out this kind of behaviour and make sure women are empowered and equal in all areas of our business. We know we must uphold the highest standards of behaviour in order for women and girls to have trust and confidence in us.
"Everyone has a role in society to reduce violence against women and girls perpetrated by men and in policing we are clear what our role is and how we are going to achieve that. We will be open and honest about our mistakes and always take those opportunities to learn and improve our service."