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Combating violence against women and girls (VAWG) remains a priority for Sussex Police and recent work undertaken by the force has received national recognition.
In the past two years the force has introduced a complex domestic abuse and stalking unit, a multi-agency victim hub to support victims through to prosecution, and now has one of the highest adoptions of stalking perpetrator orders in the country.
Today, March 14 2023, The National Police Chief’s Council has released its first data showing how police forces are performing against the national VAWG framework for delivery. The framework aims to bring consistently high standards to the police response in this area. Every force has a VAWG action plan in line with the framework which has seen them strengthen reporting routes and review allegations of sexual misconduct or domestic abuse against officers.
Superintendent Adele Tucknott, The Sussex Police lead for Violence Against Women and Girls said: “We have worked closely with partners, victims and our communities to improve our response to violence against women and girls in Sussex and have taken many steps this year to protect victims, catch perpetrators and to continue to identify and eradicate officers from our ranks who have, themselves, perpetrated these offences.
“We have carried out extensive work with partners to promote safe spaces for women and girls and have a wide range of schemes to reduce vulnerability in the night-time economy including Night Safety Marshals, dedicated patrols, taxi marshals and other partner services.
“Our dedicated team of domestic abuse investigators – the first of its kind in the country – also provides quick, efficient and discreet responses for victims of domestic abuse.
“We remain committed to making Sussex a safe place for women and girls and will continue to support the national framework as part of this endeavour.”
The VAWG framework data released today intends to provide a critical baseline for assessing police performance over time and presents a picture from over a year ago. It includes the national publication of police performance against the VAWG framework has highlighted the prevalence of offences committed by officers across the UK and the steps forces have taken to root out these individuals.
Of the 1177 unique VAWG cases against officers, 48 of these relate to Sussex. These cases include both complaints from members of the public and those where there is an indication that a person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings.
Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland, Head of the Sussex Police Professional Standards Department said: “We encourage people to talk to us and we take all complaints seriously. We need the public to tell us when this happens by police officers and encourage anyone with concerns to talk to us.
“Even in cases where the evidential threshold is not met for criminal proceedings, we pursue individuals and use our robust internal misconduct processes to hold them to account. We are also working to build a culture among our teams where officers and staff feel confident to speak out when they have concerns. This is evidenced in the learning we have put into place since the introduction of this framework. We have listened and have acted.
“Sussex Police has also joined forces across England and Wales in checking all officers, staff and volunteers against the Police National Database to identify any intelligence or allegations that need further investigation.
“The publication today of police performance against the VAWG framework gives forces the opportunity to report openly to see what progress we are making – which has been significant since this data was collected.
“The majority of officers and staff who work tirelessly every day to protect our communities share the contempt of our communities for those who undermine their position by perpetrating these offences. They have no place in Sussex Police.”