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Greatest threats to women and girls identified on national scale for the first time

Police chiefs have issued the first ever national threat assessment of crimes posing the most danger to women and girls on 18 May.

summary document outlines the greatest threats to women and girls.

The in-depth 230-page intelligence document has been shared with all forces by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and will not be made public due to the sensitive information included.

It is a key step in the police response to violence against women and girls (VAWG) and will guide forces as they pursue abusers and deliver justice and support for victims. 

Similar documents are used by police tackling national threats such as terrorism and serious organised crime.

VAWG is now prioritised next to these crimes as a national threat in the recently updated Strategic Policing Requirement and is widely regarded as an “epidemic”.

The VAWG Strategic Threat and Risk Assessment (STRA) aims to support police forces to better understand the influences and levers that contribute to VAWG.

Forces will use the STRA to effectively target their finite resources and decide how many officers will be needed to tackle the rising rates of violent and sexual crimes faced by women.

It will also be used to identify where they should focus specialist investigators, victim support and crime-fighting technology to tackle the problem.

Reporting of VAWG is expected to continue to rise in the coming year.

The offences identified in the STRA as carrying the biggest threat to women are: Domestic abuse; Rape and serious sexual offences; Child sexual abuse and exploitation; and Tech enabled VAWG such as online stalking and harassment.

Police-perpetrated violence to be analysed separately

The STRA does not contain analysis on police-perpetrated violence against women and girls as that has been analysed separately as part of the performance report published in March.

Already underway are a range of activities designed to tackle this including tightening of vetting procedures, a historic data wash to identify any existing officers and staff who should be investigated, and work to root out abusers.

Further insight into the “insider threat” will be developed for the next STRA.

Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, national policing coordinator for violence against women and girls, said: “The epidemic of VAWG that we are facing meant that it was imperative we took the time to analyse the greatest threats to women and girls.

“All police chiefs have been given a copy of the STRA to help them make decisions in their own force areas about the best way to protect their communities.

“It allows chiefs to look ahead at future risks in terms of their ability to strategically plan and respond to VAWG.

“In order to have the right officers, trained to the right standards, and available at the right time, we are developing plans in conjunction with the College of Policing.”

She added: “A national operating model for policing to tackle rape and serious sexual offences is being published next month as a result of the focused and rigorous work of Operation Soteria Bluestone.

“The findings showed that policing needs a capable, confident and reflective workforce, equipped with evidence-informed knowledge about the impact of rape and sexual offences on victims.”

Following the publication of the STRA, the VAWG taskforce will be developing a VAWG model, using the four ‘P’ approach – a tool approved by the Home Office and the National Crime Agency – which will focus on the areas of ‘prevent violence against women and girls’, ‘pursue perpetrators’, ‘prepare policing’ and ‘protecting those at risk.’

It is hoped that this will be finalised in the coming months and will act as a roadmap for all police forces, giving them a framework in which to focus their resources.

(Source: NPCC)

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