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Richmond BOCU response to domestic and sexual violence

Report: 3
Date: 12 June 2009
By: Julie Ellison, Detective Inspector, Public Protection Group, MPS


This report has been compiled at the request of the MPA Domestic and Sexual Violence Board to give information on how Richmond Upon Thames BOCU works in partnership to improve the service experienced by survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their children. This report also highlights examples of best practice, gaps in service delivery and innovations introduced to: keep survivors safe; tackle domestic and sexual violence; hold offenders to account; bring offences to justice; increase reporting of domestic and sexual violence; work in partnership with organisations and communities to continuously improve the BOCU’s response to domestic and sexual violence.


1. Richmond Upon Thames Borough is made up of Kew, Twickenham, Richmond, Ham, Petersham, Barnes, Mortlake, East Sheen, The Hamptons and Teddington. In total there are 18 wards that cover an area of 14,591 acres in southwest London and is the only London borough spanning both sides of the Thames, with river frontage of 21 and a 1⁄2 miles. More than a third of its land is open space, including Richmond Park which covers 2,500 acres, Bushy Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew Gardens.

2. Richmond upon Thames has a rich royal history and local attractions which together bring in four and a half million visitors every year. The borough is also home to Twickenham Rugby club, and Twickenham with its proud history dating from Neolithic times, is the internationally recognised home of English Rugby Union.

3. The borough has a population of 182,000 according to the revised mid-year estimates for 2004 produced by the Office for National Statistics. Richmond upon Thames is 48% male and 52% female. In 2001 the average size household in the borough was 2.23 people, and over a third of households were single people. The level of home ownership is 69%, according to the 2001 census, with a further 15% renting from private landlords and another 12% (nearly 9,000) households renting from a registered social landlord.

4. 2001 Census data shows that compared with Greater London boroughs, Richmond upon Thames now has the eleventh highest proportion of people aged 65 or over, and the seventh highest of people aged 75 and over. Set against this is the fact that the borough has, on average, fewer young people than the rest of London. For example the 2001 census shows that only 5.4% of our population aged between 20 and 24 compared to 7.4% for the rest of London.

5. Richmond is one of the least ethnically diverse boroughs in London, mirroring the national average of the white population (91% in England and Wales). The largest non-white group in the borough is Indian (2.5%) and approximately a quarter of all Indians in Richmond live in the wards of Whitton and West Twickenham. These two wards are the most ethnically diverse compared to the borough average, along with Heathfield which has the largest concentration of non-white residents (16.2%) living in the borough. Hampton is the least diverse.

6. The borough also has a significant proportion of Irish people (2.8%) and of ‘white other’ (9.5%). Among ‘white other’, the most common countries of birth are South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and America. This is particular in South Richmond. The ethnic backgrounds of school pupils in the borough show that 82.7% are white, with the largest ethnic minority groups being pupils of mixed ethnic background (5.8%). However, children who attend Richmond schools speak over 78 languages other than English. The languages most frequently spoken in the homes in Richmond upon Thames are Punjabi and Gujarati.

7. Richmond is 65.8% Christian, 2.3% Muslim and 1.5% Hindu. The Christian religion is considerably higher than the national average of 58.2%.

8. The Local Education Authority maintains one nursery school and 12 nursery units, 41 primary schools, eight secondary schools for 11-16 year olds and two special schools. Provision for children with special needs is made in all mainstream schools. The Local Education Authority maintained schools have 12,560 full-time and part-time primary pupils on roll, and 7,350 secondary pupils. 150 pupils attend the borough's special schools.

9. The Annual Population Survey 2004/05 estimates that in Richmond-upon-Thames 14.2% of people of working age are disabled (Source: Nomis October 2004-September 2005).

10. Richmond-upon-Thames was ranked 301 out of 354 local authorities and districts in England in a poll on deprivation. No region within the borough is in either the top 10% or top 25% most deprived areas in the country. In fact, 24 areas (21% of those in the borough) were in the 10% least deprived areas in the country. 68 (60% of those in the borough) were amongst the 25% least deprived areas in the country. Although not deprived in a national sense, some areas in the borough are relatively deprived compared to others and pockets of deprivation do occur.

11. Richmond has proved to be appealing to a number of overseas companies partly due to its attractive environment and easy road access to Heathrow Airport. However, the offices of these companies tend to be relatively small. Amongst many, one of the main employers in the borough in terms of numbers of employees is Serco.

12. Tourism is a particularly strong element of the local economy, attracting four and a half million visitors to the borough each year, generating annual revenues in excess of £200 million and making substantial provision to the number of jobs available locally.

13. Compared to the rest of London Richmond upon Thames has very low levels of crime and is one of the safest boroughs in which to live. The main types of crime in Richmond upon Thames are burglary (10% of all recorded crime), theft (3.93%) and motor vehicle crime (13.4%).

Executive summary

14. Richmond Upon Thames Borough has been consistently successful in tackling domestic and sexual violence (DSV) over a number of years when measured by sanctioned detections, arrest rates and successful prosecutions. Although the main aim of this report is to identify police performance in relation to DSV and compliance with MPS Policy, the success of the Borough’s performance is due to the combined efforts of all our partners.

15. Richmond Upon Thames is committed to dealing robustly with perpetrators and at the same time meeting the needs of survivors and their children. In order to do this we aim to open up and encourage access to a wide range of appropriate local services.

16. The main services provided by the partnership are:

Richmond Upon Thames Domestic Violence One-Stop Shop

This is open once a week providing support, advice and information to anyone suffering domestic abuse. It is staffed by representatives from, the Police Community Safety Unit, Refuge Floating Support and Victim Support.


Refuge provide safe, secure, high quality temporary accommodation and support services across the borough to women, and their children, escaping domestic violence and abuse.

Richmond Upon Thames Safety First Scheme

The Richmond upon Thames Safety First Scheme aims to help residents (including children), affected by domestic abuse and hate crime, remain in their own homes and feel safe. Safety First is one of a range of options to those possibly at risk of homelessness as a result of domestic abuse and hate crime.

The scheme is available across all types of tenure (e.g. registered social landlords, private rented and owner-occupied). It provides: Free improved home security (e.g. better door and window locks, installation of replacement doors) to be installed within a short time after initial referral; Free installation of a Careline alarm, linked to the Police control room to allow rapid response in case of future incidents with free rental for at least six months; Advice on personal safety from a Police Crime Prevention Officer and the option of advice from the London Fire Brigade on home fire safety; Referral to domestic abuse services; Holistic approach to improving safety. This service enables clients to remain safely in their home with their children.

Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)

The MARAC is a multi agency forum at which high-risk victims of DV are discussed and decisions are made as to how each agency can support that person and their family. Most departments and agencies in the borough support and participate in this initiative. Richmond Upon Thames Police coordinate the MARAC and monthly meetings are held at Local Authority premises.

Richmond Upon Thames Victim Support

Victim Support Richmond Upon Thames is a voluntary organisation offering practical help and emotional support to victims of crime. Daily referrals are received from the Metropolitan Police, other agencies and directly from victims of crime. Volunteers with specialist training provide specific support for victims of serious crime including domestic abuse.

17. Combining these services with a criminal justice process that works together to robustly deal with perpetrators from arrest to conviction ensures that the maximum support is provided to survivors and their families. This gives them the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

18. We accept however that there is always room for improvement and we have identified in the report areas that we are looking to address.

A. Recommendations

19. That the MPA Domestic and Sexual Violence Board note the contents of this report.

B. Domestic and Sexual Violence data

20. Data provided in this report has been taken from the Live CRIS system for the period of 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 inclusive. Any stated performance figures also refer to this period unless otherwise stated. It is acknowledged that data is usually supplied by PIB.

Number of Serious Sexual Offences flagged as DV

21. There were 8 serious sexual offences flagged as DV.

Victim data

22. All 8 victims were female and age ranges were: 2 aged between 18 and 30 years; 5 aged between 31 and 50 years; 1 aged between 51 and 70 years. Their self-defined ethnicity was: 4 White - British; 1 Chinese Any Other Background; 3 did not have their self-defined ethnicity recorded on CRIS.

Suspect data

23. All 8 suspects were male and age ranges were: 3 aged between 18 and 30 years; 3 aged between 31 and 50 years; 2 aged between 51 and 70 years. Their self-defined ethnicity was: 7 White - British; 1 did not have their self-defined ethnicity recorded on CRIS. One suspect is recorded as having a disability but no further details are known.

Number of crimes and incidents flagged as Domestic Violence:

24. There were 754 incidents of Domestic Violence (DV) and 598 recorded crimes.

Victim data (Crimes)

25. The victim ages ranged from; 2 under 10 years, 4 aged 11 to 17, 232 aged between 18 and 30, 63 between 51 and 70 and 18 aged over 70 years. 462 were female, 133 male, and 3 Not Stated. The ethnic background of the victims of DV is as follows: 33 Asian, 12 Black, 8 Chinese, 15 from a mixed background, 366 white and 2 not stated. (162 were shown as blank in the PIB data table).

26. N.B. For ease of understanding the individual breakdown, ethnicity has been collated under the general headings of Asian, Black, Chinese Mixed background and White, rather than the full 18 categories, for each of the answers. The data is available if required.

Suspect data (Crimes)

27. There were 182 accused of DV offences. The accused ages ranged from; 93 aged between 18 and 30, 77 were between 31 and 50 and 10 aged 51 to 70. 2 had no aged stated. From these 25 were female and 157 were male. Of the total, 16 being Asian, 16 Black, 2 Chinese, 8 from a Mixed Background and 138 were White. (2 were Not Stated).

Number of Serious Sexual Offences

28. There were 19 serious sexual offences.

Victim Data

29. Their age ranges were: 7 aged between 18 and 30 years; 9 aged between 31 and 50 years; 3 aged between 51 and 70 years. Their self-defined ethnicity was: 6 White - British; 1 White Any Other White Background; 1 Black - African; 2 Chinese Any Other Background; 9 victims did not have their self-defined ethnicity recorded on CRIS. Their gender was: 17 female; 2 male.

Suspect Data

30. There were a total of 22 suspects. 20 were male and 2 had no gender recorded. Their age ranges were: 3 aged between 0 and 17 years; 8 aged between 18 and 30 years; 7 aged between 31 and 50 years; 3 aged between 51 and 70 years; 1 suspect had no age recorded on CRIS. Their self-defined ethnicity was: 11 White - British; 1 Asian; 10 did not have their self-defined ethnicity recorded on CRIS. One suspect is recorded as having a disability but no further details are known.

Domestic Violence incidents with repeat victims of crime

31. Performance Information Bureau were not able to supply this data. Extract from their email follows: ‘We are unable to include data on repeat victimisation for domestic violence. There is a repeat victimisation flag for Hate Crime overall on CRIS, but this relies upon people using it correctly therefore the figures will not be very accurate’.

Domestic Violence & Serious Sexual Offences sanction detection rate and proportion of sanctioned detections which are cautions

32. Arrests for DV were made in 87.6% of cases that involved a criminal offence, which was the best performance in the MPS.

33. The DV sanction detection rate was 63.9%, which was the best performance in the MPS.

34. The DV sanction detection rate consisted of 47.1% charges and 52.9% cautions. The primary reason for our high cautioning rate is the positive caution policy in operation on this BOCU. If the CPS do not charge a suspect because the victim has stated they do not wish to support a prosecution and the offender admits the offence the offender will be cautioned. If this approach was not taken the offender would have no sanction imposed that could be brought to the attention of the CPS or court on a future matter.

35. The sanction detection rate for rape was 34.8%, against an MPS average of 33.6%. The sanction detection rate for serious sexual violence was 31.1%, against an MPS average of 30.1%.

Cases of serious sexual violence cases no-crimed or crime related incidents:

36. There were 34 incidents of serious sexual offences of which 14 were No Crimed and 1 was CRI’d.

37. Richmond Upon Thames BOCU classifies and confirms rape allegations at the first possible opportunity. Once a rape has been recorded and classified, it may only be reclassified with the approval of the Dedicated Decision Maker (DDM) and the Data Accuracy Team. Richmond Upon Thames BOCU classified serious sexual crimes on the basis of an often minimal amount of information and possibly before the victim has spoken to police directly.

Victim Data of No Crimes and CRI

38. 14 were female and 2 were male. Their self-defined ethnicity was: 10 White - British; 1 Black - African; 4 unspecified on CRIS. Their age range was: 7 aged between 17 and 29 years; 5 aged between 30 and 49 years; 3 aged between 50 and 60 years.

Suspect Data of No Crimes and CRI

39. 12 suspects were male and 2 had no data. Their self-defined ethnicity was: 1 White - British; 1 Black - African; 13 unspecified on CRIS. Their age range was: 7 aged between 17 and 29 years; 1 aged between 30 and 49 years; 1 aged between 50 and 60 years.

Domestic Violence incidents flagged as ‘Honour-Based Violence’ and / or Forced marriage

40. There were no DV incidents flagged as ‘Honour-Based Violence’ within the above time period.

Number of Domestic Violence homicides over the last 12 months:

41. There were no DV homicides within the above time period. Therefore there were no recommendations forthcoming for the MPS or any other agency.

Limitations re Data

42. Religion, belief and sexual orientations are hard to quantify because of limitations with either the data or the corporate indices. Religion is not routinely recorded on crime reports. Belief is not routinely recorded on crime reports. Sexual orientation is not routinely recorded on crime reports.

43. Corporate indices show identification codes for suspects and victims that match the Phoenix code descriptors and self defined ethnicity where the victim or suspect was asked and provided their self-defined ethnicity.

Provenance of Data

44. The Data used in this report has come from: Live Data extracted from MetMIS; Performance Information Bureau; Live Date from CRIS.

C. Policy compliance and quality assurance

BOCU risk assessment and risk management to ensure survivor safety and perpetrator accountability

45. The risk management process for DSV incidents is addressed in four key stages:

Dynamic risk assessment - is made at the first point of contact, usually the police staff communications operators who will assign the CAD incident with an appropriate response grade. ‘I’ immediate or ‘S’ soon.

For DV there is SPECSS+ - On arrival of police at the scene a second formal risk assessment is made by the initial investigating and reporting officer with the completion of a book 124D. The initial risk assessment follows the SPECSS+ model and the risk is assessed as being ‘standard’, ‘medium’ or ‘high’. For Non DV Sexual Violence there is a further dynamic risk assessment made by the initial investigating officer.

Primary Supervision - Once the level risk has been assessed the initial reporting officer identifies and implements options to reduce, avoid, remove or accept the risk. For DV these actions are recorded in the book 124D and the CRIS report which is supervised either by the response team Sergeant or Inspector. For serious sexual violence offences a DS conducts a review within 10 to 18 hours of the offence being reported to police. This review includes risk identification, assessment and management.

Secondary Supervision - Once the book 124D and CRIS has been submitted all reports are reviewed by one of two Detective Sergeants on the Community Safety Unit (CSU). That officer reviews the risk assessment and intervention strategies and if the risk is perceived to be ‘medium’ or ‘high’ directs a dedicated CSU investigator to carry out a secondary risk assessment and further interventions to reduce, avoid, remove or accept the risk. The CSU Detective Inspector has overall responsibility for ensuring that these procedures are complied with. For serious sexual violence offences a DI conducts a further review within 7 days of the offence being reported to police. This review includes risk identification, assessment and management.

6. CRIS reports where there is no crime alleged are allocated for secondary risk assessment, historic research of the parties involved and the venue dating back five years. Advice is given to victims regarding Non Molestation Orders, crime prevention and referral to the ‘One Stop Shop’.

47. For DSV incidents where children are a part of the relationship whether present or not a report is created on the Merlin system to bring the situation to the attention of the Social Services, Child Protection Team, Education Services or Primary Care Trust as appropriate. The BOCU has a Public Protection Desk (PPD) with arrangements to share information with the agencies above. Those supervising front-line staff, CMU and CSU supervisors and the PPD monitor compliance in regard to this.

48. Where a serious sexual offence has been committed then investigation primacy will pass to the Sapphire Unit, these crimes are however monitored closely by the DI and DCI in order to ensure the skills of the CSU are fully utilised, including due diligence around secondary risk assessment.

49. Once the risk has been identified it should be managed in accordance with the RARA model. Some examples of intervention strategies to manage risk are listed below. It should be possible to:

  • Remove the risk: By arresting the suspect and obtaining a remand in custody.
  • Avoid the risk: By obtaining non-molestation/occupation orders against perpetrator or re-housing the victim/significant witnesses or placement in refuge/shelter in location unknown to suspect.
  • Reduce the risk: By multi agency intervention/victim safety planning, crime prevention and use of protective legislation i.e. bail conditions, injunctions etc., monitoring by Safer Neighbourhood teams.
  • Accept the risk: By intervention and safety planning, constant review of the risk assessment and offender targeting within the PATP (Pro-Active Tasking Proforma)/MAPPP (Multi Agency Public Protection Panel) format or MARAC process as detailed below.

50. Following a number of steering group meetings with partner agencies a Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) was implemented in November 2007. A MARAC, which is Chaired by the CSU DI, is held every four weeks at Local Authority premises. To date there have been a total of 268 (high and very high risk cases) referrals, with between 9 and 19 referrals per meeting. 280 children have been involved in those referrals. There have been a total of 44 repeat cases which is a repeat victimisation rate of 16% (since MARAC commenced).

51. Current membership of Richmond Upon Thames’s MARAC includes representatives from:

  • Police - CSU & Child Abuse Investigation Team
  • Children’s Services & Culture - IRT, FST, Education Welfare, ART, YOT.
  • Adult & Community Services - Adult Community Care, Housing Options Team.
  • Victim Support Services - Victim Support (IDVA Service), Refuge Floating Support, Refuge Residential, Welcare.
  • Richmond & Twickenham Primary Care Trust - Named CP Nurse, Protection of Vulnerable Adults.
  • South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust - Borough Lead Social Worker (Mental Health), Community Mental Health Team, Child & Family Consultation Centre, Community Drug & Alcohol Team.
  • Registered Social Landlords - Richmond Housing, Richmond Churches.
  • Local Drug & Alcohol Services - Drug Intervention Programme.
  • Probation Service - Kingston & Richmond, IDAP West, Victim Liaison (Hounslow, Richmond & Kingston).
  • Other Family Services - CAFCASS
  • Diverse Communities - Ethnic Minorities Advocacy Group (EMAG), LGBT
  • Community Safety Team

52. To ensure regular attendance at MARAC by all partners there is a 3 stage warning system:

  • Stage 1 Failure to attend one MARAC meeting - triggers an Email from the Domestic Violence Co-ordinator directly to named representative emphasising the importance of MARAC and warning of the consequences of future failure to attend.
  • Stage 2 Failure to attend two MARAC meetings - triggers a letter from the Chair of MARAC and the Domestic Violence Co-ordinator directly to named representative emphasising the importance of MARAC and warning that any future failure will be reported to the Community Safety Partnership Group for the attention of the Council’s Chief Executive and the Police Borough Commander.
  • Stage 3 Failure to attend three MARAC meetings - triggers a letter from the Chair and Vice Chair of the Community Safety Partnership Group to the head of service for the respective partner who failed to attend asking them to provide a response to the CSP Strategy Group as to how they intend to implement the MARAC protocol (to which their agency has ascribed) and ensure that attendance and participation at the MARAC will be prioritised.

53. To monitor the MARAC referral process, a MARAC flag is applied to CRIS reports by CSU staff and the Borough Intelligence Unit (BIU) produces details of multiple repeat victims.

54. Repeat victims are allocated to a single CSU (DV incidents) or Sapphire (sexual violence) officer who will take ownership of that victims incident and all future incidents involving that victim and their children. Experience shows that such individual ownership and responsibility encourages the officer to adopt a problem solving approach and engage with our partners to ensure survivors and their children remain safe by taking all intervention opportunities.

55. Where offenders are not present at the scene or not available to be arrested the BOCU utilises its Fast-Track Circulation of Suspects Policy. This ensures early positive action focusing on the safety of the survivor and any children. Additionally, the Safer Neighbourhood Teams support the CSU by conducting arrest enquiries on a regular basis and supports mini ‘Athena’ (arrest) days.

56. Victim Support is a voluntary organisation offering practical help and emotional support to victims of crime. Daily referrals are received from the MPS, other agencies and directly from victims of crime. Volunteers with specialist training provide specific support for victims of serious crime including domestic abuse.

57. The MPS Threats to Life Policy is strictly complied with and a risk assessment indicator checklist has been developed and adopted. A training package was produced and delivered to all relevant staff through the BOCU training days. Compliance is monitored and reviewed through: Initial supervision of CRIS by Sergeants; the risk assessment is completed by Inspectors; ongoing monitoring and review is conducted at the Daily Management Meeting; non-compliance issues are brought to the attention of the Daily Management Meeting for Supt Op’s to take appropriate action.

58. Rapes and serious sexual assaults are investigated by the Borough Sapphire Team. To improve performance the Sapphire Unit has been internally reviewed and as a result it has been restructured and integrated with this BOCU’s new Public Protection Wing and additional more experienced staff have been deployed to it. The restructuring was implemented on 5 January 2009 and within three months the sanction detection rate (for the whole performance year) for: Rape increased from 27.8% to 34.8%; serious sexual offences increased from 26.9% to 31.1%. Although this improvement cannot be solely attributed to the restructuring it is a good performance indicator that improvement is being achieved overall.

59. The new Sapphire model provides greater resilience. It has a dedicated DS and it now comes under the management of the Public Protection Investigative DI for enhanced leadership, earlier engagement with the Crown Prosecution Service and improved partnership working. It should be noted that SCD2 are in the process of taking over the investigation of all serious sexual offences and they have a target date of September 2009.

60. To ensure victims are made safer a risk assessment and risk management plan is documented on all rape CRIS reports. Compliance is monitored by mandatory review periods conducted by the Detective Sergeant and Detective Inspector at 10 hours and 7 days respectively. The Detective Chief Inspector complies with the new 28 day review and this is dip sampled by the Superintendent Operations. Progress of the case is then monitored and reviewed by the DI every 28 days thereafter.

61. The Safer Neighbourhood Teams are also provided with details of those victims who have been referred to MARAC. This enables officers to be aware of those victims at high risk and where appropriate to conduct visits and respond to any calls.

62. The BOCU has a Positive Action Policy with the primary aim of making an arrest for criminal offences. This is designed to send a clear message to the perpetrator that the police make the decision about arrest and the matter is no longer in the hands of the victim. Once an arrest has been made the decision regarding prosecution is in the hands of the CPS. This reduces the risk to the victim because the perpetrator knows that any attempt to influence/intimidate the victim will not affect police action. This directly holds the perpetrator accountable for their actions. Motivating response teams to arrest perpetrators is an important part of the process and is attributable to good leadership. Failure to arrest will result in an officer being asked to explain their actions. The Daily Management Meeting (DMM) reviews all DSV crimes and arrest compliance.

63. Where considered practical the Safer Neighbourhood Team’s have followed up minor domestic incidents reinforcing the initial response advising and seeking to reassure survivors of our commitment to their safety and undertake welfare checks in appropriate circumstances. The Safer Neighbourhood Teams are Ward based and as such are controlled by the Ward. Although not responsible for the initial response to domestic incidents the SNT’s respond to complaints by the Ward of excessive noise, regular disturbances, anti-social behaviour and drug related crime. These incidents are all consistent with breakdowns in domestic relationships and domestic stress.

64. As well as aiming to keep survivors safe through arrangements already described above there are a number of measures available for victims within the BOCU. Provision of panic alarms and the addition, of ‘Special Schemes’ on CAD where appropriate, these ensure that any calls to the victim’s address are treated as urgent. There is a close liaison with Victim Support Scheme. They attend the One Stop Shop and work closely with the CSU officers.

65. VSS provide additional victim contact and safety planning advice for those victims who are not high risk and have been previously advised by CSU. The CSU has mobile phones that can be provided to victims who have had their phone removed by theft or criminal damage. This allows for contact by the CSU and the 999 facilities if the victim needs to contact police in an emergency.

66. The London Probation Service operates an Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme (IDAP) that can form part of sentencing at court. Convicted offenders are subject to monitoring for up to eighteen months as a condition of release. Behaviour that breaches the order e.g. re-offending can result in them being brought back before the court. Richmond Upon Thames BOCU supports this programme particularly through MARAC.

67. The Criminal Justice process plays a key part in keeping victims safe and bringing offenders to justice and, ultimately, improving confidence in the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Supported by the London Criminal Justice Board, the local Borough Criminal Justice Group brings together all local partner agencies within the CJS to ensure that cases are processed, managed and expeditiously dealt with. All key partners are held to account for performance, for example in relation to case progression, listing of cases, completion of probation reports.

68. There is a good working relationship with the CPS Branch Crown Prosecutor (BCP) who has recently appointed a lead lawyer for DV issues. There is CPS specialist case workers for both DV and sexual violence.

69. On 11 May 2009 Richmond Upon Thames BOCU had its first DV Court User Group Meeting this will ensure close cooperation with the Deputy Justices Clerk in the local magistrates’ court to improve the timeliness of results in relation to DV matters, as they are aware of the need for the victim to be notified of outcomes in relation to sentencing and conditions of bail expeditiously.

70. The majority of cases are heard at Richmond Magistrates Court and, although it is not a specialist DV court, training has been delivered to some magistrates in relation to DV matters to ensure that justice is delivered to a high standard with regard to DV matters. The Witness Service provides support to victims by arranging pre-court visits. Also placing victims and witnesses in remote rooms in which to wait for cases to be heard. This reduces the possibility of any contact between the parties where special measures apply or where the victims or witnesses feel vulnerable.

71. The Probation Service interviews relevant perpetrators released on licence in order to assess their needs. Independent Domestic Abuse Programmes (IDAP) are provided to those perpetrators that have been sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment.

72. The communication of court results of hearings, bail applications and trials should ideally be immediate in DSV cases. At present results do not appear on the Libra system for at least 24 hours and there is no set procedure for CPS or administration at the Court to advise results to those working directly with the victim. The obtaining of results relies on good will of staff at both the Police Station and the Court working in tandem. This impacts on safety planning which is paramount to those in the partnership working directly with victims of DSV. In cases where there are identified risks officers attend court to ensure the victim is informed immediately.

73. Communication from HMP regarding release dates of perpetrators need be improved. At present (if sentence is under one year) the onus is on the victim to find out when the perpetrator is to be released. Ideally this situation should be reversed so that survivors and their families can re-establish their lives without the constant worry that the perpetrator has been released without their knowledge. If release dates (and information about licence or conditions) are communicated in a timely manner steps can be taken to arrange injunctions and address safety measures to protect high-risk victims from further harm. NOMS (National Offender Management Service) appears in practice an inadequate medium by which victims and their families can obtain information. Policies are needed between the MPS and HMP with agreed protocols and holding to account. This is a strategic issue that appears to be in direct contrast to all the work undertaken in relation to the Victim Code of Practice (VCOP).

74. Despite Probation seeing all persons released on licence, perpetrator programmes, drug and alcohol programmes appear to only be available to those that are sentenced for a term exceeding 12 months. The majority of perpetrators are sentenced to periods in custody that are less than 12 months. Therefore in many cases assistance that should be provided according to need is denied. This applies in prisons where short-term prisoners are not able to access the programmes mentioned above. Improvement needs to be made in outreach of services for drug and alcohol misuse.

75. Information relevant to repeat offenders bail and bad character is kept on a shared computer drive for the future use of officers. This system speeds up and improves the prosecution/bail decision making processes. It also provides relevant antecedent history of the perpetrator that is provided to the CPS to consider making an application for the use of bad character evidence.

76. The above has resulted in us achieving a DV arrest rate of 87.6% (Best in MPS) and a DV SD rate of 63.9% (Best in MPS).

What processes are in place to support officers and ensure that they are effectively implementing Standard Operating Procedures, especially in cases where several procedures may be relevant to a particular case

77. To enhance performance Richmond restructured to a Public Protection Group (PPG) in January 2009 incorporating the CSU, Sapphire Unit, Violent Crime Unit, Beat Crimes Unit, Jigsaw Unit, Missing Persons (Compass) and the recently created Public Protection Desk (PPD). All these units are co-located on one floor at Teddington police Station. All units provide support to each other when investigating critical incidents.

78. Emphasis is placed on taking positive action and arresting perpetrators where the opportunities arise. Non-compliance issues such as failure to arrest, not completing a 124D or not completing a risk assessment are raised at the Daily Public Protection Meeting and then at the Daily Management Meeting where the Supt Op’s takes direct action with the respective Inspector.

79. The CSU DI and DS’s ensure that ongoing DV secondary investigations are progressed within the SOP guidelines. A risk assessment will be completed and an arrest strategy devised to apprehend any outstanding suspects.

80. Merlin’s are completed whenever a child comes to police notice, these are circulated via PPD to Social services and CAIT ensuring all agencies are aware of the situation. Where a CAFF exists for a child the Local Authority supplies these details to the PPD (this will be automated when contact point goes live), this ensures that families that have to come to the notice of other agencies are flagged.

81. To ensure compliance the DI holds weekly PPG meetings with the DS’s and standing agenda items include: performance; non-compliance issues; risk management; outstanding suspects. There is a full monthly PPG meeting. These meetings facilitate communication and maximise policy compliance. Additionally MPS Performance Information Bureau produce weekly performance indicators that are immediately cascaded through Territorial Policing, Violent Crime Directorate to the SMT of every BOCU and then to the respective PPG DI. Any non-compliance issues are quickly identified from these figures and steps taken to address any issues are measured through subsequent weekly performance indicators.

82. Where several operating procedures apply to an individual case the Detective Inspector at the originating unit, BOCU or department retains initial responsibility for the case. Liaison then takes place at Detective Inspector level to agree primacy or to adopt a joint investigation. Where agreement cannot be reached the matter is referred to senior managers.

83. Overall the Daily Management Meeting allows the SMT to intrusively fulfil their responsibility in regard to performance management for DSV.

84. The CSU DI attends the bi-monthly CSU DI meetings at New Scotland Yard to spread good practice and to examine current performance.

Completion of Form 124D and integration with IT systems:

85. As per MPS policy the BOCU uses the book 124d to assist initial investigators capture key evidence/information, and for initial risk assessment to be undertaken. Once completed and supervised the 124d is passed to the CSU where the risk assessment is reviewed and an entry is placed on the CRIS reflecting this (compliance is currently running at 89%). The Book 124d is given a sequential log number to ensure that each investigation has a 124d and that there is full compliance with the requirement. As part of the secondary investigation CSU officers are tasked to carry out the full MPS secondary risk assessment model where ‘medium’ or ‘high risk’ has been assigned. The unit DI oversees any investigation that involves a victim that is high risk. These are also brought to the DMM to ensure that all possible action is taken to remove/reduce the risk. Victims that remain at high risk are referred to the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC).

86. To increase compliance rates from 89% it is BOCU policy that officers will record the fact that they have completed the 124D on the CRIS along with any Merlin reference and CRIMINT reference numbers. This process then has two further levels of supervision, the immediate line supervisor followed by the Community Safety Unit supervisors. The CSU DI dip samples DV reports highlighting best practice and non-compliance issues to the Daily Management Meetings. Feedback to response teams and the CSU is provided through the Superintendent (Operations), the CSU DI and CSU DS’s.

87. Front line supervisors and staff have received bespoke training delivered by the CSU DI and DS’s and are instructed, where possible, to attend every domestic violence incident where a substantive crime has been alleged and / or committed.

Support for staff experiencing domestic violence and ensuring staff perpetrators are held accountable:

88. Richmond Upon Thames BOCU applies the corporate policy contained within Police Notice 48/2004 regarding domestic violence, and Police Notice 01/2005 for rape and serious sexual offences, for all employees of the MPS who are suspects and the positive action policy is strictly adhered to. The Police Code of Conduct expressly identifies the need for officers to act in a professional manner in discharging their official duties so that the public can have faith in our integrity and honesty. It also mentions our duty to prevent and detect crime. MPS staff who are suspects are therefore treated and held accountable as would any other citizen. These instructions are available to all MPS employees through the AWARE/Intranet.

89. Investigations are conducted by the relevant CSU or Sapphire Team under the supervision of the Crime Manager. Only in exceptional cases will the investigation be conducted elsewhere. The Borough Commanders for the area where the offence took place and where the member of staff works are informed of all such cases. Confidentiality is maintained, the CRIS report is restricted and only relevant line managers informed where we have a duty of care to our staff, both victims and suspects. Personnel Managers are informed to make sure relevant staff has access to support programmes through Occupational Health. When a member of MPS staff is identified as a suspect for domestic violence the CRIS report is flagged ‘PE’. The Directorate of Professional Standards and TP Violent Crime Directorate Service Delivery Team are informed of all such cases and they ensure the internal processes for recording, investigating and monitoring are completed. Staff association involvement is considered where appropriate.

90. Line management involvement and support networks are afforded to victims who are employed by the MPS.

D. Resources and training

Number of posts within the Community Safety Unit and Sapphire Team, including vacancies:

91. Officers are expected to serve a minimum of one year in the unit. The role is a demanding one, which creates a perception among non-CSU officers that work involves high volume in a field of operation that carries most risk.

92. The BOCU are committed to a fully staffed CSU and Sapphire Unit. The CSU is staffed by: one Detective Inspector; two Detective Sergeants; three Detective Constables; two Trainee Detective Constables; three Police Constables; and one Band D Civilian Investigator. The CSU has a volunteer who assists with administrative tasks.

93. The Sapphire Unit is staffed by: one Detective Inspector; one Detective Sergeant; one Detective Constable (Job Share); one Trainee Detective Constable; one Band D Civilian Investigator.

94. In addition to the above there are two Police Constables who are dedicated SOIT officers, comprising of one male and one female. These two SOIT officers are brigaded with Kingston and Merton BOCU’s, who also have two SOIT officers each, so that a 24/7 call out service can be provided to guarantee meeting the victim within the first hour of the incident being reported to police. The success of this system relies on the three BOCU’s maintaining their staffing levels.

95. There are arrangements in place to fill the one current vacancy that exists on the CSU.

Demographic Profile of staff:

96. Officers within the CSU and Sapphire are selected on the basis of their skills and competency to carry out the role. The demographics of these units are: all staff employed in within them are White; 39% of staff are female and 61% are male. Currently there is no known officer’s representative of the LGBT community.

Successes and areas for improvement of Public Protection Desks:

97. The Public Protection Desk (PPD) at Richmond Upon Thames was established on 11 June 2008 and was accredited by TPHQ on 14 November 2008.


98. Albeit PPD’s are still in their infancy there is an increasing focus on identifying the most vulnerable children on the borough e.g. Spreadsheets are being developed to condense information relating to frequent juvenile MISPER’s to identify priority lines of enquiry. Closer working with Partner agencies in formulating action plans to minimise risks to these MISPER’s e.g. PPD and YOT’s working with Social Services to expedite care arrangements. Ongoing plans to have SNT's identify their 5 most vulnerable and 5 most dangerous people on their wards and to generate action plans to address issues. It is hoped that this process will capture the likes of David Sandford at an earlier stage. Sandford was targeting vulnerable young females who were regularly going missing and being found with him.

Areas for Improvement:

99. i). Across the MET there needs to be a clearer demarcation of responsibilities in relation to the respective roles of the PPD and CAIT's with reference to Child Protection issues that fall outside of the CAIT investigation remit e.g. A child who is placing themselves at risk of significant harm of sexual exploitation, whose family relationships have broken down is clearly a Child Protection concern, however where no disclosures are made by the child, Social Services have a responsibility to identify appropriate intervention strategies and will inevitably request joint investigation. Some CAIT’s do not see a role for themselves in this kind of scenario, leaving Social Services to investigate the child's circumstances on a single agency basis. There is potential for a large 'grey area' to develop and some children may be at greater risk because agencies are not pro-actively working 'together' to safeguard children. CAIT’s may feel that this gap is plugged by PPD's when in fact they have no such remit.

100. ii). Many PPD’s, despite the aspirations of TPHQ, still believe that they have a role in formally referring Child Protection issues directly to Social Services and also engaging in subsequent strategy discussions, rather than transferring the MERLIN’s to CAIT to do so. This creates a further confusion of roles which again may lead to increased risk to vulnerable children.

Interchangeable and transferable training for Domestic Violence and Sapphire Team officers:

101. All CSU officers during their attachment will receive the one-week CSU course presented at the Crime Academy. Courses are available for ‘Achieving Best Evidence’ related specifically to CSU officers.

102. Several officers currently working on DSV have undertaken the DC Foundation course consisting of elements covering both area of work.

103. The DSV teams have a balanced mix of skills, experience and knowledge which they share. Additionally the SOIT’s are brigaded with Kingston and Merton BOCU’s and this further leads to cross-pollination of ideas.

Training on child protection, honour based violence, forced marriages, stalking, harassment and victim care:

104. The CSU 5 day course syllabus relating to Domestic Violence highlights that officers must be able to: Professionally investigate allegations of domestic violence when children form part of the domestic environment; Recognise and understand the impact of cross-cultural communication on police community interactions; Identify the ingredients of civil legislation and family law that has an impact on work within a CSU; Honour Based Violence.

105. Partners involved in MARAC (including police) received training from Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA).

106. All officers on the Borough have received Every Child Matters training, which includes child protection issues. It is also an element of Detective Constable’s training.

107. Honour based violence and forced marriage now features on both the CSU and DC course and training inputs have been delivered at CID training days to all officers.

108. Stalking and harassment are covered on the DC’s course although not exclusively to DV cases. The SOP is comprehensive and copies of all harassment notices sent are retained in the CSU. 

109. Victim care is integral to all relevant courses including the CSU, SOIT and DC’s, FLO and ABE course.

110. Good use is made of the CSU Delivery Team website which contains a comprehensive library of policy and SOPS.

Percentage of staff trained

111. The eleven (including part-time) staff members currently available in the CSU have the following skills: CSU training = 4 (remainder of staff await notification of course dates); DC Foundation = 5; ABE Interviewing = 4.

112. The six officers (including part-time) dealing with serious sexual offences have the following skills: DC Foundation = 3; SOIT = 3; ABE Interviewing = 3; FLO = 1

113. 100% of BOCU Detectives and supervisors and 99.1% of constables are ECM trained and have received the mandatory MPS training on Race and Diversity via an online computer based training package.

Equipment and training available to support officers to collect best evidence at the scene at the time of response:

114. To support initial evidence gathering, all response vehicles are equipped with form 124Ds and ICEFLO cameras for immediate evidence capture, ensuring that the scene and any injuries are photographed. The CSU also have access to a digital camera. This provides early tangible evidence to the investigator, which can be used during interview, and provides evidence upon which the CPS can charge.

115. SOIT packages containing swabs, seat covers and Early Evidence Kit is readily available for all frontline officers although swabs can be used independently where appropriate e.g. swabbing bite marks or injuries. SOCO’s provide excellent investigative support on a 24 hour basis and photographic branch can be utilised where superior evidential products are required.

116. The Borough Forensic Manager provides regular inputs to training day. Additionally the current training cycle is aimed at primary investigation, scene management and the capture of evidence. The training is mandatory for all uniformed officers, including PCSO’s and Safer Neighbourhood Teams. New joiners to the service, including re-joiners, receive domestic violence training at training school.

What training is delivered in partnership with the community:

117. In 2008 the Domestic Abuse coordinator for the Community safety Partnership delivered a training package over 10 weeks on Domestic Violence including MARAC and victim Behaviour.

118. Richmond Domestic Abuse Forum recruited volunteers to deliver training to school staff as part of the Domestic Abuse Education Project. A two day ‘Train the Trainers Programme’ was held on the 23 of February and the 4 March 2009. The course was run by the Children and Young People’s Project Worker at the Greater London Domestic Violence Project (GLDVP) and will provide an overview of domestic abuse, the affects on children and a background to the education project to equip trainers to trainer teachers to deliver the project. An officer from the CSU is now a trainer and goes out to schools to deliver it.

119. All relevant partners are MARAC trained.

120. CSU and LGBT Liaison Officers have attended a presentation on issues faced in the Transgender Community to raise awareness in dealing with crimes alleged within this community.

121. There is also an ongoing joint training programme surrounding the issues facing vulnerable adult abuse.

E. Partnership working and Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRP)

CDRP budget and dedicated funding:

122. The exact figure spent by the CDRP can not be practically quantified as there would have to be a request made to all partners ranging from Police, LA, PCT, Health providers to calculate what part of their staff hours are devoted to domestic violence. For example for the Police alone, CI Partnership and the DCI both spend time among other portfolios working on DV and child related violence, then there is the Specialist officers in Public protection unit all of whom are either exclusively dedicated to DV or cross over as part of their main remit. A commentary from the Community Safety Partnership giving some of the costs and commitment is as follows:

The Community Safety Partnership officer support team is part of a wider Community Planning Team that supports the Local Strategic Partnership and other thematic partnerships. This includes the full time post of a Domestic Abuse Coordinator. In addition the Community Safety Partnership directly funded domestic abuse work totalling £42,000 in 2007 to 2008, including an IDVA post (£35,000), a contribution to the Safety First Scheme (£3,500) and a Vulnerable and Intimidation Witnesses Scheme (£3,500). A proposal is being considered on 22/05/09 to double funding for Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) provision and recruit a 0.5 MARAC administrator. Supporting People committed £282,527.93 towards support for domestic abuse victims and survivors in this period (this includes floating support and residential services). Across Council directorates, additional funds are also provided to domestic abuse provision and there are officers that devote part of their working time to domestic abuse. While it is therefore difficult to pull out exact budgets for the CDRP (including the work all partners contribute), it is evident that a considerable proportion of the available resources are devoted to domestic abuse.

Domestic violence priority and action within the Crime and Disorder Strategy

123. The vision set out by the Community Safety Partnership Plan is to “ensure that everyone here can continue to work, live and enjoy their leisure in the safest borough in London. It is particularly important for us that all communities including those in our five priority areas enjoy the benefits of living in a strong, cohesive community with reduced fear of crime and anti-social behaviour.” Within this, reducing assaults are a priority. This includes domestic abuse for which actions are delivered through the Domestic Abuse Work Plan. This has four overall objectives:

  • Increasing safe choices for anyone experiencing domestic abuse so that they might plan safer futures without compromising their quality of life
  • Holding perpetrators accountable for their behaviour in such a way that not only acts as a future deterrent for them / but also as a future deterrent for potential perpetrators
  • Dispelling myths and stereotypes which undermine social tolerance/approval of domestic abuse
  • Providing children and young people with the necessary knowledge and skills required to build relationships based on respect and mutual understanding, with shared power and a commitment to non-violence

124. The work plan is monitored by the Domestic Abuse Forum Operations Subgroup (an executive and tasking group for domestic abuse). This group reports on a monthly basis to the CSP Strategic Group.

CDRP domestic and /or sexual violence projects in progress:

125. There are a number of CSP projects in progress that address domestic abuse and these are included within the four overall objectives within the Domestic Abuse Work Plan. These include:

  • The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC). The Richmond MARAC is one of thirty one areas in the UK (and the only borough in London) which have been invited to participate in the first tranche of the Quality Assurance (QA) Process for MARAC’s delivered by CAADA. The MARAC is a key project for the CSP and is a key target within the Domestic Abuse Action. A 10 point work plan for the MARAC is being delivered for the MARAC in 2009-2010, with a particular focus on embedding training, operating processes (including risk identification across partner agencies) and the tracking of repeat victimisation.
  • A pilot Domestic Abuse Education Project involving a multi-agency team of trainers in three schools and one youth setting. This includes a Police trainer.
  • The development of a local treatment pathway for those experiencing or perpetrating domestic abuse and problematic substance use.

126. An upcoming project includes work around Operation Lockout, the Community Safety Partnership Scheme to combat acquisitive crime. The BOCU is developing capacity through Operation Lockout to provide a Lock Fitters scheme. This will allow the Police and their partners in the CSP and Age Concern to target harden the homes of older and vulnerable victims of crime, (where appropriate there will be no cost to the victim). The aim will be to carry out target hardening within 48 hours of the offence being reported. These additional resources will compliment the Safety First Scheme (a target hardening scheme provided by CSP) and provide a quick time response to the victims of domestic abuse where this is needed (a service that is currently unavailable) the decision has been made that this will be at no cost to the victims.

127. In 2007 this Borough secured funding (RFU, Local Authority, PCT and Police) to launch Community Communication Network TV (CcN). This is a Borough wide initiative of 13 fixed plasma screens installed in 'high footfall' areas e.g. Railway stations and doctors surgeries. These screens are displaying information, crime prevention messages, seasonal messages etc 24/7 and 365 days a year. These screens are privately operated, but the content is decided locally. Since the launch in September 2008 they have been used to transmit messages in relation to Domestic Violence, Safety of the elderly and missing persons circulation to very effective results.

128. Each year for the last 4 years this Borough and Hounslow have organised a full day Youth Conference / practical work based discussions at the RFU in Twickenham. This year the conference attracted over 250 15/16 year olds from surrounding schools with teachers. This year the topics discussed included alcohol, bullying at school and Anti Social behaviour. As a result of many discussions other topics were discussed including ASBO and domestic violence. The questionnaire feedback has been very positive. In addition the BOCU already owns equipment that allows anonymous voting (similar to the voting system used by the programme ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire) the long-term intention is to extend its use to DSV.

129. On this Borough all wards (18 in total) now have representation of a Youth Police Liaison Group ( PLG) . These have only in the last 3-6 months been implemented and some are at an early stage of development. All however are based within the secondary school environment and as a vehicle to discuss issues of a Domestic Violence / abuse nature from the 'teenager' point of view.

Partnerships with the voluntary and statutory sector agencies:

130. The BOCU Commander is the Vice Chair of the Community Safety Partnership. In relation to domestic abuse, the BOCU has a heavy involvement with the Domestic Abuse Forum. This includes representation at meetings and the DI Public Protection chairs the Domestic Abuse Forum’s Operations Subgroup (an executive and tasking group). In addition, the DI Public Protection Chairs the MARAC. The BOCU works in partnership on a number of multi-agency initiatives to better support the victims and survivors of domestic abuse. This includes committing staff resources to:

  • Attend the One Stop Shop (a weekly drop in for victims and survivors in Richmond), to which Police Officers also refer.
  • Provide an appropriately trained officer to survey properties and recommend security works to be carried out (the local target hardening scheme); and
  • Act as a Single Point of Contact for the MARAC within the CSU.
  • The Borough partnership lead sits on the executive of EMAG (the ethnic minorities advocacy group), all hate crime, including DV, is subject to a consensual referral to EMAG who offer a variety of advocacy and advice services.

131. Victims of sexual violence are referred to the Haven. Even if they do not require forensic examination they are referred for the support services the Havens offer e.g. counselling, health advisors, clinical psychologists, emotional support etc.

132. Victims of sexual violence are also referred to the Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre in Croydon, who are an independent charity providing professional support and information to victims of sexual violence.

F. Work with victims and communities

Monitoring and integration of service user satisfaction and feedback:

133. User Satisfaction Survey, at a BOCU level, canvases approximately 640 victims each month. The criteria for the survey specifically excluded any offences flagged as DV and sexual offences. (This is an MPS policy decision as the sensitivity of these offences makes this kind of survey inappropriate).

134. The last Public Attitude Survey for Quarter 3 of 2008/9 details those taking part in the survey. ‘Chapter 6: Contact with Police Victimisation measure: Respondents or other household member has been a victim of crime in the past 12 months’, 7% of the 640 respondents answered yes to this question. There is no breakdown as to the types of crimes. Since the Survey is postcode based there is a small probability that some of the respondents will have been a victim of DV or sexual violence (This survey is carried out by an outside agency).

135. There is no direct measure of satisfaction of these victims corporately due to the extreme sensitivity of their circumstances.

136. Quality Call Back again specifically excludes these crime categories for the same reason.

In what proportion of cases are victim impact statements taken:

137. The CSU routinely takes Victim Impact Statements from victims of DSV, particularly those involving life changing injuries, for example GBH. Such statements are also taken from vulnerable adults; however, it is common practice to include an impact statement within the body of an ABE (Achieving Best Evidence) interview.

138. The Sapphire Teams protocol is to take an early statement from the victims by a specially trained SOIT officer. This does include the impact the sexual assault has had on the victim. If the case is one where the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised a prosecution and an offender is charged, a full and more detailed impact statement is taken.

Regular updates for victims on cases and any changes or decisions, particularly those that may impact on their safety:

139. Victims of serious sexual violence are kept updated by SOIT officers who are all full-time staff dedicated to this specific role and are not distracted with other duties. They are therefore able to concentrate on providing victim care, access to support services, act as a point of contact and a communications conduit between the investigators and the victim. As a matter of course they ensure victims are updated on a regular basis; this would include any updates regarding bail as stated in the question. The Detective Sergeant monitors compliance with this by carrying out 7 day reviews on all current investigations. Any gaps are quickly and easily identified and remedial action taken.

140. Domestic Violence victims are regularly updated by the investigators themselves with an entry made on the CRIS report utilising the VCOP page. This is checked, monitored and reviewed by rigorous supervision of the CRIS by 1st and 2nd line Supervisors during 7 day reviews and is further monitored by the Daily Management Meeting to ensure that appropriate action is taken. Also see Victim Focus unit below.

Ensuring compliance with the victim’s codes of practice:

141. The Victim Focus Unit based at Teddington with a staff of three PCSO’s and supervised within the Crime Management Unit monitors all crimes occurring on this borough.

The unit ensures compliance with:

  • Referrals to Victim Support Service
  • Ongoing Monthly contact with Victims
  • Informing the victim has been informed of suspects arrest, release or charge and
  • Of any non court disposal, (PND, caution etc)
  • The MPS scorecard details B/OCU performance each week. This publication is monitored by the SMT, the Partnership lead and the MIU provide monthly performance figures at the SMT. For Example the April Figures stand at: VSS Referral within time limit (2days) 98%; Arrest of suspect (Update within time limit -5 days) 97%; Suspect charged & bailed (Update within time limit -7 days) 96%

These figures relate to all crime.

Building trust and confidence with hard-to-reach communities, particularly around sensitive cultural issues such as forced marriages and honour based violence:

142. The Equalities Group, under the chair of a Chief Inspector maintains a live document for each of the 6 strands. The Group meets quarterly and expects updates from each strand lead as part of the standing agenda, and any issues arising from their lead responsibility.

143. For example the gender strand has led the way on the Borough in identifying women’s groups on the Borough and have made contact with each to set up an informal women’s community advisory group, and they will be running a stall at the Local Youth Forum’s “Women’s Celebration day”.

144. Borough Partnership lead is actively involved with other agencies ranging from sitting on the EMAG executive, to being the Champion for Hampton north ward one of the areas of relative deprivation, an example of the work carried out the Borough part funded nursery provision on the Hampton travellers site which helped the community development worker build bridges into that hard to reach community and she was able to arrange a confidential meeting with CI Partnership and a leading member of the community who did not want to be seen speaking to Police but needed advice.

G. Organisational improvement

DV Homicides reviews or serious case reviews, how have recommendations been implemented?

145. There were no DV homicides within the above time period. Therefore there were no recommendations forthcoming for the MPS or any other agency.

Where there have been cases of ‘honour’-based Violence, has the HBV Action Plan proved fit for purpose? If not, how could it be improved?

146. There were no DV incidents flagged as ‘Honour-Based Violence’ within the above time period.

Example of good practice and learning opportunities:

147. Richmond Upon Thames has a Fast Track Circulation Policy designed to Remove, Avoid or Reduce the risks to potential victims of violence.

148. An officer of at least the rank of Inspector is responsible for authorising any suspect/s to be circulated as wanted on PNC. The EWMS unique reference number must be entered on the CRIS.

149. All known suspects, where there are reasonable grounds to suspect, they may: Present a threat to life; Cause serious injury to a person or serious damage to property. Must be circulated on PNC immediately or as soon thereafter as justifiably practicable.

150. All known suspects, where there are reasonable grounds to suspect they have committed an offence including: Violence Against the Person (including Harassment & Threats to Kill); Sexual Offences; Robbery.

151. Must be circulated on PNC within 7 days (of the matter coming to police attention) or as soon thereafter as justifiably practicable.

152. The 7 day period will ensure as a minimum: There is a statement (or 124D) providing sufficient evidence to justify arrest; that an arrest inquiry has been conducted at the suspect’s address (if known); a check with DWP has been sent.

153. CRIS reports containing suspects circulated as wanted on PNC that have outstanding actions will remain open and be the subject of weekly reviews by the OIC. The OIC’s Line Manager will ensure compliance during their 7 day CRIS Supervision Check. When all actions are complete the CRIS report can be closed.

What single improvement do the BOCU think the MPS could make which would greatly improve the response to domestic and sexual violence locally.

154. DV performance would be improved by a more robust and co-ordinated (between the police and the CPS) approach to victimless prosecutions. Experience indicates there are very few victimless prosecutions undertaken when one considers the corroborative evidence available.

155. To secure the trust and confidence of victims of serious sexual offences every BOCU should have the resources made available to have comfort suites to interview victims in a safe comfortable environment.

What can the MPA Domestic and Sexual Violence Board and its Members could do to help or support the BOCU in dealing with domestic and/or sexual violence?

156. Invite the Crown Prosecution Service to attend with the respective BOCU in order to provide a 360 degree picture e.g. number of Special Measure applications (successful and failed), number of victimless prosecutions undertaken, number of non-molestation orders; number of discontinuances and reasons for them, final attrition rate, what are their targets and how did they perform, number of victims personally met by prosecutor etc. Such a move would enhance our working relationship and lead to improved performance.

H. Equality and diversity statement

157. Domestic violence is widespread throughout every socio-economic group and affects all sections of society irrespective of race, culture, nationality, religion, sexuality, disability, age, class or education level, whilst all our services are open to all, each abused person has a set of unique circumstances which can affect how they respond to the violence. Our staff are aware of 152. these issues and have received training in this area in order to be sufficiently flexible to take account of the individual issues whilst ensuring respective policies are adhered to.

158. The Equalities Group, under the chair of a Chief Inspector maintains a live document for each of the 6 strands. The Group meets quarterly and expects updates from each strand lead as part of the standing agenda, and any issues arising from their lead responsibility. Borough Partnership lead is actively involved with other agencies such as the EMAG executive.

159. The BOCU has one LGBT Liaison Officer. The CSU DI and DS attend regular LGBT Liaison meetings.

160. Richmond Upon Thames BOCU, with its partners, are currently in the advanced consultation stages of setting up a Hate Crime Forum where the concerns of all sections (and individuals) within the community can have their views and concerns heard and addressed.

161. Each DS, within the CSU, is responsible for performance and training around Race, LGBT and Vulnerable Adults. One of the aims is to promote third party reporting sites to build community trust and confidence. This aim is shared by the local authority and it is being made a target for the new Hate Crime Forum.

Contact details

Report author(s): DCS Turner B.Ed. DI Joe Farrell, BA(Hons). PGC. Richmond Upon Thames BOCU, MPS

For more information contact:

MPA general: 020 7202 0202
Media enquiries: 020 7202 0217/18

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