Police chiefs adopt counter-terror approach to tackling VAWG

Police forces will adopt a counter-terrorism approach to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) under a revised national framework for England and Wales.

Mar 13, 2024
By Paul Jacques

The framework was initially launched in December 2021 and set out the “immediate actions” policing committed to take to “build trust and confidence, relentlessly pursue perpetrators and create safer spaces”.

This revised framework, which covers the next three years, is the next step in ensuring policing is focused on outcomes that make a real difference to tackling the epidemic of VAWG.

In February 2023, the Home Secretary included VAWG within the Strategic Policing Requirement, which means that the national policing response to VAWG should be on par with terrorism and serious and organised crime.

The framework for delivery uses a ‘4P approach’, a tried and tested methodology that was developed in counter-terrorism.

The 4P approach ensures forces focus on being well prepared to tackle VAWG offending, that action is being taken to protect individuals, families and communities, and that perpetrators of VAWG are being “relentlessly pursued”.

“This approach also has a focus on preventing VAWG, with a commitment from policing to support our partners in taking the lead to a whole system approach to tackle VAWG,” said the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

Police chiefs have committed to building trust and confidence among communities, and as part of the framework, forces will self-assess their local plans using a template developed over the past two years to identify best practice in the four key areas.

Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, deputy chief executive officer of the College of Policing and NPCC lead for VAWG, said: “The publication of the Angiolini report earlier this month laid bare the work policing must do to improve its response to violence against women and girls.

“Whilst we have developed our approach and capabilities to tackle VAWG in recent years, there is much more for us to do.

“We have been working at a national and local level to broaden our understanding of all aspects of VAWG, including how policing can better support victims and hold perpetrators to account through the criminal justice system.

“The 4P approach already helps police to tackle some of the most serious threats to our communities, and by including VAWG in the Strategic Policing Requirement, we are recognising as a society the gravity of the epidemic of VAWG.

“We must now galvanise progress in policing to ensure that we are doing all that we can to protect women and girls, and deliver against the priorities outlined in the framework.”

Assistant Chief Constable Samantha Millar, NPCC strategic programme director for VAWG, said: “Setting a strategic direction for policing to effectively respond to violence against women and girls means that across the country forces will be able to better target their resources and capabilities to make meaningful improvements to the safety of women and girls.

“Our understanding of the threat VAWG poses to our communities is evolving all the time, which is why the voices of women and girls, and victims and survivors, are fundamental to how we move forward and drive progress.”

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