Her Majesty’s Inspectorate has recently published a hard-hitting report highlighting a national epidemic of violence against women and girls.

An estimated 1.6 million women in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the 12 months to March 2020.

It follows another Government study which revealed that the prosecution rate for reported rape is less than 2%.

Offending against women and girls is deep-rooted and pervasive in our society.

Urgent action is needed to uproot and address it, yet the police cannot solve this alone.  Fundamental system wide change is required, involving not only the police but also other partners including the Crown Prosecution Service, health, social care and education. We need a step-change in activity to address this cancer in our communities.

I fully support the Inspectorate’s assessment that we have an epidemic of violence against women and girls in the home and on our streets.

I am in the process of drafting my Police and Crime Plan and innovative solutions will figure prominently:

  • I want a relentless focus on the perpetrators of this wicked and totally unacceptable violence.
  • We need higher prosecution rates, and we also need much better victim support.
  • I will also make a major effort to bid for any new source of funding to deal with this problem – we recently submitted a strong and novel bid to the Government’s Safer Streets fund for resources to promote prevention and deal with perpetrators
  • I will review the Commissioner’s Fund to ensure it is a priority in Gloucestershire.

To improve our understanding of harassment and sexual abuse, we want to develop an easy-to-use smart phone app for the anonymous reporting of attacks because with more data, we can concentrate resources where these attacks occur more frequently and develop solutions that actually work.

I have also just recruited a new Deputy to help me coordinate action across the County, to introduce a new ‘public health’ approach to crime prevention generally and violence against women and girls in particular.

This is a societal wide issue and only by working together will we change attitudes and behaviour – we all have a part to play, everyone of us.

I am determined that our streets and homes become safe places for women and girls, and stand ready to work with Government, victims groups and wider partners to make a real difference for the community I serve.