The Home Secretary is expected to make preventing such attacks a national policing priority.
26 February 2022
Police will be told to make tackling violence against women and girls as much a priority as fighting terrorism, child sexual abuse and serious and organised crime.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to make preventing such attacks a national policing priority, known as a strategic policing requirement (SPR), for forces in England and Wales in an announcement this week.
The move comes after a police watchdog recommended the change as part of a root-and-branch review of the response from forces to violence against women and girls which found “problems, unevenness and inconsistencies” in dealing with the “epidemic” of violence against female victims in the UK.
Then inspector of constabulary Zoe Billingham said it was “vital” violence against women and girls should be within the top three priorities for police forces.
Ms Patel said: “The safety of women and girls is an absolute priority and I do not accept that violence against them is inevitable.
“That is why last year I commissioned an inspection into the police’s response to tackling crimes disproportionately impacting women and girls. The report made for difficult reading, but made a number of suggestions for how government, the police and others can and must do better.
“I am pleased to be accepting its major recommendation – to make tackling violence against women and girls a strategic policing requirement – meaning this will now be a national priority for every single police force in England and Wales.”
SPRs set out the key areas police forces are told to address and topics chief constables as well as police and crime commissioners are expected to focus on.
The decision, which comes as the Government is expected to formally respond to the findings of the report, will provide “clear direction to policing and highlights where police forces need to work together, using their local and regional capabilities, to protect the public”, the Home Office said.
Next week an advertising campaign on television, radio, social media and on billboards focusing on “targeting and challenging perpetrators and harmful attitudes” will also be launched.
The adverts are set to highlight a “series of different forms of violence against women and girls, and the simple acts that anyone can take to challenge perpetrators of abuse”, the Home Office added.