Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Stakeholders meet to tackle domestic abuse in first Welsh forum

Tackling domestic abuse was the first theme of the new-look Wales Stakeholder Forum hosted by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Director for Wales Catrin Evans welcomed representatives this week from all four Welsh police forces, together with non-governmental organisations, to our Cardiff office to share experiences and best practice in policing across Wales.

Catrin said: “Domestic abuse has been chosen as our first theme as a particularly challenging area of policing that requires constant vigilance. While full responsibility for any abuse inflicted clearly rests with the perpetrator, we have found through our investigations on a number of occasions that police forces could have performed better when incidents are reported and victims ask for help.

“Since starting at the IOPC in January, I’ve been impressed by the commitment of Welsh police forces to learn and improve in this difficult area, particularly when it comes to protecting those in need. The Forum gives us the opportunity to listen to feedback from experts in the field. Keeping up to date with the latest developments on tackling domestic abuse can help improve the quality of our own decision-making in investigating forces, and secure confidence in what we find.”

Protecting vulnerable people was also the theme of our latest Learning the Lessons magazine, which highlights ongoing work by the IOPC and College of Policing. Designed for police practitioners, it sets out a range of case studies highlighting learning, force responses and outcomes from our investigations.

This approach was also used in the Stakeholder Forum as the group considered a case study from outside Wales concerning a call handling incident where an abandoned 999 call was received prior to a woman’s murder. During the brief call an indistinct female voice in the background was trying to give her address immediately prior to being attacked. Our investigation concluded the woman’s voice had been audible and an incident log should have been created. The call handler did not give sufficient weight to the possibility that a man on the phone who provided assurances that all was “fine” was, in fact, not telling the truth. Better training resulted for control room staff in the force involved. 

Attendees at the Forum who contributed their expertise on domestic abuse included representatives from the four Welsh police forces and Police and Crime Commissioner offices, Welsh Women’s Aid, the Probation Service, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Shelter Cymru, Bawso and Cardiff University.

Catrin added: “Findings from our investigations have resulted in recommendations designed to improve the police response to domestic abuse at both a local and national level.
“We are also using this knowledge to respond to the UK Government’s current consultation on the wider approach to tackling domestic abuse.”

The re-launched Wales Stakeholder Forum plans to meet twice a year and intends to discuss policing challenges surrounding mental health and young people over the next year.
You can read our Learning the Lessons magazine online here.


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