Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary

Everyone's business - Improving the police response to domestic abuse.

Media Statement - Kent Police Federation.

Domestic abuse is a vile crime that blights far too many lives. It is right and proper that police forces are held to account for their response to such crimes and where room for improvement is highlighted this should be accepted. However it is also right that when such reports are published, a balanced approach is adopted taking full account of the prevailing circumstances and the hard work that police officers do day in and day out protecting the people of Kent.

Ian Pointon, Chairman of Kent Police Federation says,

"Whilst I broadly welcome the HMIC recommendations, especially for better training, it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that victims of domestic abuse in Kent are being routinely failed by Kent Police. I simply do not recognise that. We should not forget the police response to domestic abuse has improved greatly over the last 25 to 30 years with officers taking positive action to arrest offenders. This is a long way from when I joined; then the accepted, yet unacceptable, practice was don't get involved in domestics."

He continues,

"We should also view this report against the backdrop of swinging cuts to police budgets. We have 500 fewer police officers and 700 fewer police staff. We are set to lose a further 100 - 150 police officers and more police staff. Overall demand for policing shows no signs of abating and police officers are stretched to breaking point. In addition we seem to operate in an environment when everything we do appears to be a priority. For example, the public priority is for more bobbies on the beat to reassure them. I understand that desire but it has to be balanced with specialist roles that are often invisible but equally on the frontline; specialist officers dealing with domestic abuse are just one example of that."

He concludes,

"I would like to reassure everyone that 3,200 police officers and their police staff colleagues are doing their level best in difficult times to provide a first class service to the people of Kent. Experience tells me we do take domestic abuse very seriously, but where there is room for improvement I am positive that will be done. I know that we won't get it right all of the time, we are after all only human, but let's keep those occasions in perspective."

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