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Focusing on violence against women and girls, West Mercia Police’s Temporary Chief Constable updated Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Bayliss on progress at an Assurance & Accountability meeting on Tuesday 19 December.

Improvements have been made to benefit victims, a key pillar of PCC John Campion’s Safer West Mercia Plan, with quicker response times to reported domestic abuse incidents, alongside increases in action taken against perpetrators and more referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Through the PCC’s budget, five specialist VAWG officers were introduced in May 2023 covering West Mercia’s local policing areas. They are advising West Mercia Police’s tactical response to incidents of domestic abuse with more work being undertaken to greater refine the focus of their role.

Community scrutiny panels are set to be launched in January, looking at VAWG. Made up of independent members of local communities the panels will help the force to learn lessons, improve services and ensure even greater accountability.

To best equip police officers with the knowledge and tools they need to deal with incidents of domestic abuse, training is being carried out by officers across a range of departments with a focus on putting victims first.

While progress has been made, there is still more to do. The T/CC acknowledged that rapid video response within the Operational Control Centre can be better utilised as well as noting victim satisfaction has remained just below the force’s target.

To finish the meeting, conversation focused on the specialist services the PCC commissions in relation to domestic abuse and ensuring they align with national best practice.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I understand some victims of domestic abuse do not feel comfortable reporting their experiences to the police.

“I hope the improvements covered at the Assurance and Accountability meeting reassure all victims that they are front and centre of both the work I and West Mercia Police do, and any report will be dealt with sensitively and properly.

“I remain committed to supporting and challenging the Chief Constable to ensure further improvements are made with a continued drive on delivering a service victims and survivors expect and deserve from their police force.”