Staffordshire Police response to HMIC report on Vulnerability

EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 hrs 15 December 2015

Jane Sawyers, Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police said: 

Photo of Jane Sawyers
Chief Constable Jane Sawyers

“We focus on taking great care to protect the vulnerable and have done so for many years so we take this report very seriously. Staffordshire Police fully recognises that the protection of those who are most vulnerable is the responsibility of everyone in policing. 

“We are addressing all the issues raised in the inspection, taking immediate action from June 2015 and are developing a range of improvements to give confidence to our communities, partners and HMIC that Staffordshire Police is keeping people safe. 

“We look forward to having the opportunity to provide evidence of the improvements that we are making in keeping people safe with vulnerable people as a priority. 

“We welcome acknowledgement from HMIC of significant good practice, especially in areas of child sexual exploitation”. 


Notes for Editors: 

A wide range of changes and improvements have been made since the HMIC vulnerability inspection which includes: 

  • A programme of Domestic Abuse Reference Toolkit training began in September 2015 with 700 officers and staff (majority frontline) to date having attended. The programme was developed, and the majority of session personally delivered, by the renowned domestic abuse academic expert Dr Jane Monkton-Smith (Gloucester University and specialist advisor to the Home Office).  We are undertaking further work to reinforce this approach and use the training to challenge our approach. 
  • Issues around culture are being managed. Senior officers across the force have been aligned to area teams to provide guidance and mentoring. Each senior officer has personally delivered briefings in respect of investigative quality; code of ethics, the national decision making model and victim focus. We plan to deliver similar briefings focusing on vulnerability and the approach to risk assessments and Victims Code of Practice.
  • Strategic governance arrangements have been reviewed and improved. 
  • We have established and embedded a process of establishing the THRIVE (Threat, Harm, Risk, Investigation, Vulnerability and Engagement) into our call handling process that has been well received previously by HMIC.
  • A Chief Superintendent has been appointed to oversee and lead across the force on vulnerability and harm reduction.
  • A significant programme of safeguarding development days for front line staff were delivered during the earlier part of 2015 
  • HMIC found many examples of committed and talented police officers and staff going the extra mile to meet the needs of vulnerable victims consistently, sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances who work so hard in this often difficult and sensitive area. 
  • Anyone who wishes to report domestic violence or who needs help and advice on this matter should initially contact 101. 

Definition of domestic abuse 

The cross-government definition of domestic abuse was revised following extensive consultation in 2012 to include those aged 16 to 17 and make explicit reference to coercive control for the first time. 

The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is: 

any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  •  Sexual
  •  Financial
  •  Emotional

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour. Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Domestic abuse covers a wide range of violence and behaviours and involves different perpetrators. The definition includes intimate partner violence, child abuse, elder abuse, sibling abuse, child to parent abuse, so-called ‘crimes of honour’, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and other violent acts within the family. There are marked differences between sibling abuse and intimate partner abuse. Intimate partner violence, which affects women disproportionately includes a range of different types of violence including physical and or/sexual violence, intimidation, isolation, control and the ‘micro management’ of everyday life. 

For more information and interviews please contact the Staffordshire Police Press Office on 01785 234864. 

Author: bailey9799

Communications Manager at Staffordshire Police