You are in:

Warning: This is archived material and may be out of date. The Metropolitan Police Authority has been replaced by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC).

See the MOPC website for further information.


Minutes of the meeting of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Board held on 12 June 2009 at 10 Dean Farrar Street, London, SW1H 0NY.



  • Valerie Brasse, MPA
  • Anthony Wills, Standing Together
  • Yeliz Osman GLA
  • Elizabeth Harrison, Havens
  • Jo Clarke, Havens
  • Louise Smith, CPS
  • Denise Marshal, Eaves
  • Karen Bailey, GLDVP
  • Colin Fitzgerald, Respect

1. Introduction and Apologies

Valerie Brasse opened the meeting by welcoming those present and apologies were made for Cindy Butts who was unable to attend. Introductions to those who attended were also made and housekeeping arrangements explained.


  • Cindy Butts, MPA
  • Kirsten Hearn, MPA
  • Nicola Speechly, GoL
  • Cmdr Mark Simmons, MPS
  • D. Supt Darren Williams
  • DCI Mark Yexley, MPS
  • A/DI Anthea Richards, MPS
  • DS Sharon Stratton, MPS
  • Christopher Boothman, MPA
  • Siobhan Coldwell, MPA
  • Michael Wadham, MPA
  • Lynne Abrams, MPA
  • Despina Petrou, MPA

Valerie Brasse explained that this was the second meeting for the Domestic and Sexual Violence board.

 Greenwich Borough Operational Command unit: Response to domestic & sexual violence

(Agenda item 2)

Richmond Borough

  • DCS Turner
  • Supt Ops Jim Davis
  • DCS Mick Allen
  • DI Joe Farrell
  • James Rowlands

Greenwich Borough

  • DCS Wood
  • C.Supt Phil Kaye
  • DI James Carrington
  • DI Kevin Clarke
  • Ray Seabrook
  • Hyacinth Cooke

Community Guests

  • Denise White, GLA
  • Kate Handley, CPS BCP
  • Philip Fernandez, CPS BCP
  • Liz Dewson, Richmond Victim Support
  • Carmel Blackie, Richmond Safeguarding Children
  • John Orton, Richmond Churches Housing Trust
  • Sandra Leadley-Watkins, Family Support Coordinator Greenwich
  • Bola Sowoolu, Greenwich Supporting People Officer
  • Michelle Waldron, Greenwich
  • Erica Rolle, Hillingdon
  • Caitriona Scanlan, Camden
  • Sophie Davies, Victim Support
  • Sarah Edwards, Eaves
  • Denise White, GLA
  • Sukhi Jheeta, Director Lambeth Women's Aid

2. Valerie Brasse gave a warm welcome to Greenwich borough. Introductions of each individual present was made for the purpose of those joining the meeting

3. Greenwich BOCU response introduced by Borough Commander Richard Wood.

4. Advised that there have been considerable improvements recently; the senior management structure has been renewed and relationship building with CPS is commencing. They have strong partnership with local authority.

5. Missed performance targets last year and will need to identify and improve. Looking to work closely with CPS. Invited Gerry Campbell to come along and identify performance and looking at same point of contact for victims. The volume of domestic violence including repeat DV and DV rapes presents a challenge and a SWOT analysis has been undertaken to identify strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. Performance of rape now one of the highest SD rates in the MPS, serious sexual offences has not showed the same improvements.

6. Room for improvement in relation to new officers and continuing the change of ‘culture’ in the borough. Will highlight the importance of domestic violence. Repeat victims will get a single point of contact in the CSU which will support better case outcomes, better intelligence and improving relationships with and trust of victims.

7. Valerie Brasse thanked Greenwich borough for providing information and advised that it seems like there will be a challenge ahead. Fundamental questions on how the stats have been ‘stacked up’ as they don’t seem to add up.

8. Anthony Wills was interested in the fact that they had only been on borough for 3 weeks and said it must be hard with so many other priorities top juggle. He asked if the MPS had supported them.

9. DCS Wood agreed it is demanding and challenging role, advised that the MPS does support him. Has domestic background on domestic violence and the CSU was the first unit he met on the borough. For him it’s a real priority and an absolute key area.

10. Valerie Brasse asked what the cause of the high repeat victimisation rate was.

11. Greenwich responded that they don’t yet have a MARAC in place which could make a difference, though they do have case conferences. Challenge over the coming months is the support/drive towards victims. The highest DV repeat case they have shows 80 calls to the police on a 7 year period shows that victims are confident to contact police if there are issues at home. However, there is a need to look at interventions – for example including alcohol support as well as DV support. They also want to use the same officer as a SPOC in specific cases to gain that trust and relationship.

12. Valerie Brasse asked if this was sustainable due to current workload, DCS Wood replied yes. Valerie stated the DSVB would be eager to know what the impact of the SPOC would be and whether there would be scope for rolling it out if it were successful

Action: Greenwich to assess the success of SPOC on case outcomes and feedback.

13. Question raised on page 10 statistics. Valerie Brasse did not feel that the stats tallied up, and had a problem reading the statistics. Apologies were given but it was explained that another officer did the stats.

Action: stats to be corrected and included in the follow up report from Greenwich

14. Karen Bailey asked about Page 22 of the report, to elaborate on their statement which seems to infer that they wish to avoid getting repeat calls. It was explained that the aim should be that police provide support.

Action: Greenwich to detail the process of support interventions and signposting they offer and how they monitor the effectiveness of the interventions?

15. Valerie Brasse asked about demographics of Greenwich, and noted that the number of black males accused of sexual offences was disproportionate to the demographics within the borough. DCS Wood replied that work needs to be done on equalities and disproportionately on this borough. Areas where we can improve service will be looked at, and an analysis has been requested on this

Action: Greenwich to feedback on the analysis of demographics and sexual offences.

16. Valerie Brasse raised questions about officer training in page 14 of the report. Only 52% of officers are similarly trained with the CSU? Mark Simmons advised that they need to look at why only 52% of officers are trained at CSU.

17. Valerie Brasse asked for further information about DVASS, the IT system. Mark Stockton replied that it was developed by an officer and accesses information monthly from CRIS, so should support the identification of repeat victims, offenders, and addresses.

18. Question raised on community engagement and agency work on FGM. It was explained that there is a large Somali and African community but they have been difficult to engage with. Greenwich were hoping to improve engagement by going via PCTs and other health interventions.

19. Valerie Brasse asked for an update on the CPS/ MPS advice surgery and why this has stopped. MPS said that this was due to a facilities issue and that it hadn’t been supported as it should have been by management at the time.

Action: Greenwich to confirm that CPS/MPS surgery is reinstated.

20. Anthony Wills was not convinced at that statement and described that there is an issue revolving around that front line officers should be doing more than what they are doing.

21. DCS Wood agreed but advised that there is good work going on but an underlying issue on delivery.

22. Valerie Brasse said that she was concerned that resources are channelled but asked how we would support Greenwich to ‘get there’; and what commitment will be offered to assist Greenwich? Mark Simmons advised that Gerry Campbell’s team will be visiting the borough.

Action: Gerry Campbell to report back to the DSVB next meeting on outcome of the visit.

23. Elizabeth Harrison asked about victim feedback on Sapphire units. Valerie Brasse asked if this was routinely checked to which Greenwich replied that it will be part of the standard performance measure in the future. Greenwich and Mark Yexley (TPHQ) stated that they are currently unaware of any feedback but advised that it can be checked. Valerie asked why they aren’t checked already. Mark Yexley though feedback is collated very few responses are received and this will be included in the performance measures for the new SDC2 command.

Action: Greenwich to explore ensuring that service user feedback on Sapphire unit is collected systematically and improvements fed back into practice and policy.

24. Karen Bailey asked about sexual violence projects in the CDRP. Mark Stockton replied that there are none at the moment but there is proactive work undertaken, for example with the Violent and Organised Crime Unit which looked into gangs and proactively conducted sexual offences investigations having found evidence of abuse recorded on gang members mobile phones.

25. Anthony Wills asked about sustainability of funding for IDVAs and/ or ISVAs. Hyacinth Cooke replied that according to CAADA recommendations they should have 3.5 IDVAs, they currently have 3. To get more money they have to put together a business case. The IDVAs are financially secure at the moment.

26. Valerie Brasse closed the session and thanked everyone for their attendance and contributions.

Action: Lynne Abrams to collate action points and write to Greenwich BOCU. Greenwich to responds with follow up report for the December DSVB.

Richmond Upon Thames Borough Operational Command unit: Response to domestic & sexual violence

(Agenda item 3)

27. Valerie Brasse gave a warm welcome to Richmond borough. Introductions of each individual present were made for the purpose of those joining the 2nd part to the meeting. Richmond Borough Commander Rick Turner introduced the BOCU report.

28. Performance highlights:

Domestic violence arrest rate this year was 71% - highest in the MPS and this includes a 13% increase in volume of incidents.

  •  Sanction detection rate: 49%
  •  5 rapes this year, two are with the CPS and two were no crime, have good relationship with the CPS.
  •  Strong SMT and strong risk assessment

29. DCS Turner advised that resourcing is difficult on a smaller borough, and that they have a rotation system. Areas to improve on:

  •  Engagement with the LGBT, older and BME communities.
  •  3rd party reporting
  •  Victimless prosecutions and working with the CPS to achieve this.
  •  Development of the Hate Crime Forum
  •  Resourcing and stability; as a small borough ; small changes make a big difference.
  •  Contacting victims when offenders are released from short term prison sentences.

30. Valerie Brasse said that there was no doubt that the numbers looked good but asked how whether this was replicable across the MPS or as a result of small numbers. She also advised that it was interesting in terms of diversity, as the smallest numbers in borough but significant numbers on the elderly. Valerie wanted the following to be discussed:

  •  The good partnership working
  •  The elderly figures and how it is improving
  •  Stats
  •  DV male to female ratio

31. DCS Rick Turner stated the disproportion of elderly individuals was a challenge. James Rowlands stated that 75% of the safeguarding enquiries they receive are in relation to older people, but access is difficult, however they offer two projects which would apply including a target-hardening scheme, Safety First. DCS Turner stated they have to use other methods such as meals on wheels and outreach.

32. Valerie asked about the lack of data on disabled victims. DCS Turner replied that their systems aren’t able to capture that routinely. Members challenged this and stated we had had such data from other boroughs. James Rowlands noted that their Safeguarding Adults Board do collect this data and more work needs to be done to ensure this is compatible with police systems.

Action: Richmond to provide data on disabled victims of domestic and sexual violence.

33. Valerie Brasse asked what the male/female ratio was on victims to which an accurate reflection of what they are written was advised. AW felt that it was an unusual ratio. Joe Farrell explained that it could be related to counter allegations that skew the data.

Action: Richmond to provide further exploration of the ratio of male/female victims from Richmond in the follow up report.

34. Anthony Wills brought up figures: 754 incidents and 598 crimes, he asked if these figures were separate issues to which yes was replied. He mentioned that there were more incidents than crimes and if it was certain that they were criming the right incidents. Valerie Brasse noted that no-crimes were also an issue, in relation to serious sexual offences.

35. DCS Turner explained that any interaction with the police counts as an incident. In terms of no-crimes, they have to go through an assessment process and are agreed upon by senior officers and centrally. Mark Simmons noted that across the MPS no-criming has been an issue that’s hard to get right and they have recently reissued guidance to boroughs. However the quality assurance that occurs centrally is key and this must be as accurate as possible.

36. Valerie Brasse asked about the coordination of CSU and what the impacts on performance.

37. DCS Turner replied that there could be resilience issues if Richmond borough loses staff. It is not easy to give up staff on a small borough which will in turn affect performance. A restructure at borough had recently taken place. Have a 1, 2, 3 crime tier. Done away with the CID office. It is now one office that deals with all issues.

38. Valerie brought up funding domestic violence projects through the CDRP and asked if funding is provided for Sexual violence. James Rowlands and DCS Turner replied that Richmond is the least funded borough and that funding is a big issue for them. The MARAC has been a success and agencies are engaging with it well, including YOTs and mental health. It was noted this may be as a result of the very clear attendance policy adopted by the local authority in relation to MARAC.

39. Valerie queried the Child Abuse Investigation Teams and Community Safety Unit joint working. DCS Turner replied that there is a clear delineation between their working practices as interfamilial abuse is within CAITs remit, and the CAIT is also involved in the MARAC process.

40. Louise Smith queried the cautioning ‘policy’ and noted that the wording needed to be changed.

Action: Richmond to review positive cautioning activity in conjunction with local CPS, with a possible view to improving victimless prosecutions.

41. DCS Turner stated that they understand that victims may not wish to engage – therefore the other option is no further action. A caution can then be used to support a further investigation and prosecution. However the danger is that cautions are repeated. Mark Simmons noted that a snapshot of repeat cautioning was taken last year and they found it was small number. However this could be completed again.

Action: TPHQ to explore undertaking a ‘snapshot’ exercise assessing repeat cautioning across the MPS in relation to domestic and sexual violence.

42. Valerie Brasse queried the impact of the new Sapphire command, SCD2, on the public protection desks on borough. DCS Turner responded that it would impact on the resilience of the BOCU and in a small borough staff have to undertake several roles so losing one or two can make a big difference.

Action: Richmond to demonstrate how they will manage any changes in capacity and ensure continuing high performance following the move of Sapphire to SCD2.

43. Karen Bailey asked about the contacts with victims when there are short custodial sentences and what the outcome was of the DV court user group, as well as what Richmond were doing t access feedback from victims.

Action: Richmond to review how to better capture feedback from service users.

44. Inspector Joe Farrell sated that this will be a continuing reference group. DCS Turner stated that across the criminal justice system there is a gap in informing victims of bail and court outcomes quickly where the offender is given short sentences or let out on bail from a station. He stated though compliance with the victims code of practice is 97%, this is quite specific. Anthony Wills noted that with an SDVC you get an IDVA who will contact the victim in all such cases. Liz Jenson from victim support commented that there is a good relationship with the witness care unit in the court and they will often inform victim where possible. DCS Turner said they recognise more should be done to access feedback.

Action: DSVB to consider how to support process of information getting to victims consistently when bail decisions are made or short custodial sentences finish.

45. Valerie queried how success is measured on the use of plasma screens to share information?

46. The 42 inch plasma screens are placed in locations such as railway stations, Sainsbury’s, doctors surgeries etc. They are non-audio by which messages are given out. This has been in effect for 9 months. Crime was going down, but fear of crime was going up, the screens have proven to be a good tool to close the gap. Valerie Brasse asked if there has been any reports of vandalism, to which no was replied. The screens are placed twelve feet off the ground. It was advised that in Richmond crime is low but public expectation is quite high.

Action: Richmond to outline how the success of the screens is measured and whether consideration could be given to putting messages about sexual violence on the screens.

47. Anthony Wills asked where next for the BOCU – how can they support other agencies to ID abuse early? DCS Turner stated strategic partnership was strong and there is a clear line of accountability –everybody plays their part. James Rowlands stated agencies will come through the Domestic abuse forum and that the MARAC training programme is being shared. There are different types of training offered and they hope to have 100 people in children’s services trained. They are also developing a process of tracking victims and asking agencies what routine enquires they make around abuse.

48. Valerie Brasse asked TPHQ how much is replicable across the MPS?

49. Mark Simmons advised that when they look at performance they group boroughs together and whilst much is replicable that it is not a consistent that all smaller outer boroughs do well – some don’t. Mark Simmons raised the question on consistency and how this can be maintained across 32 boroughs, a challenge which is being faced at the moment.

50. Jim Davies noted that a key component on success for all is intrusive supervision and keeping issues on the agenda – domestic abuse is present in every daily management meeting on the borough.

51. Valerie Brasse thanked all for attending the meeting and their contribution.

Action: Lynne Abrams to collate action points and write to Richmond BOCU. Richmond to responds with follow up report for the December DSVB.

52. Date of next meeting: 28 of July, Members closed session starts at 9.00am

Send an e-mail linking to this page