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Policing increases action against violent men who harm women and girls

Published on 15 December 2021
National policing commitment to protect women and girls
3 mins read
Detective Chief Constable Maggie Blyth

We've launched a framework for policing that will deliver a fundamental shift in the priority of addressing violence against women and girls (VAWG) and give victims a consistently high standard of service.

The framework outlines policing's commitment to preventing violence against women and girls. Its three pillars are:

  • build trust and confidence
  • relentless perpetrator pursuit
  • safer spaces

The first practical tool to be developed from the framework is our policing toolkit. The toolkit supports police officers and staff to protect women and girls from misogyny and bring criminals to justice. It contains:

  • a list of misogynistic behaviours and the offences under which they could be prosecuted 
  • other tactics and protective tools that can be used to prevent further reoffending, such as civil orders

The framework for England and Wales has been developed alongside the National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) under the leadership of the National Police Coordinator for VAWG, Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth. It has also been informed by experts in policing, government and the VAWG sector.

Great improvements have been made in the policing response to VAWG over the last decade and everyday dedicated and professional police officers and staff take action that makes women and girls safer and bring perpetrators to justice.

But this year has been a watershed moment for society and policing in how much more needs to be done to radically reduce violence against women and girls. Our legitimacy has been deeply damaged by Sarah Everard’s murder by a serving police officer, the abhorrent and inappropriate behaviour of officers photographing and sharing images of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman’s dead bodies, and other examples of police officers abusing their position for sexual gain. In policing, we are determined to seize this moment to make fundamental and long-lasting change.

This framework will deliver a fundamental shift in priority of violence against women and girls and give victims a consistently high standard of service wherever they are, whatever the crime and wherever it is committed.

Violent men who harm women and girls should be in no doubt that we are coming after them. We are going to increase the use of our unique police powers to relentlessly pursue perpetrators, manage offenders and disrupt their activities – whether in public spaces, online or behind closed doors. We want to help turn the tables so violent men feel under threat, not women and girls going about their lives.

We are not calling for extra powers or legislation, or announcing new initiatives or pilots. Instead we are focusing on actions that will get the fundamentals right, that can be quickly implemented and that will have the greatest impact in the next year.

All forces are already doing some of the activities in this framework well, but we need to do all of them well. That’s what this framework intends to achieve.

DCC Maggie Blyth

The framework will be used by police forces nationally to review their existing activity and develop local action plans by March 2022. 

We will also publish a performance framework in spring 2022, developed in consultation with the VAWG sector, setting out expected outcomes and performance measures.

What we’re announcing today will bring together all of the expertise and learning we have to protect women and girls using one coherent system. The intention is to achieve consistency so women and girls feel safe wherever they are and get the same high standard of protection regardless of where they live.

Part of the work we released includes a toolkit for officers to protect women and girls from misogyny. It brings powers, tools and offences together to help officers relentlessly pursue violent men who target women and girls. 

Police officers have higher standards of behaviour expected of them compared to ordinary members of the public and it is expected that poor behaviour internally with be called out without fear or favour. 

We are committed to protecting women and girls and today’s announcement will build on the work we have already done to achieve that.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh, CEO College of Policing

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