Updated training improves police understanding of coercive control

Frontline officers benefit from latest domestic abuse training

Following criticisms that police should improve their understanding of coercive control, specialised training was trialled with more than 1,500 frontline response officers. The training, which following an evaluation is now being delivered to officers and staff across England and Wales, features videos, including one from a domestic violence incident and uses body worn video footage of officers responding to a call. Using videos in this way is intended to make the training more realistic and accurately reflect the challenges faced by police dealing with these complex incidents.

Officers from two forces were surveyed before and after taking the training and demonstrated an improved understanding of coercive control and a more positive attitude to tackling domestic abuse after completing the programme.

David Tucker, College of Policing crime lead, said: "We developed the training products to help ensure officers have a clear understanding of the issues and complexities around coercive control so they can make informed decisions to help keep people safe.

"We listened to the feedback from response officers during a previous evaluation and made changes to the training products, particularly using body worn video footage to ensure that the voice of victims is heard consistently and taken into account by officers.

"The updated training also places greater emphasis on the need for officers responding to a domestic incident to take into account patterns of behaviour when deciding on the most appropriate action to take."

As well as including body worn video footage, which shows officers responding to an incident involving a controlling perpetrator, the updated training also has additional material to help officer's understand the range of controlling behaviours used by abusers, and the impact on victims.

The domestic abuse training for first responders was initially developed in partnership with charity SafeLives and with input from Women's Aid. It was introduced last year after a review of the police response to domestic abuse highlighted a need to improve officer's knowledge around coercive control.

You can find out further details of the evaluation work on the College website.

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