POLICE have committed to a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to domestic violence incidents, the chief constable has said.

Jason Hogg, chief constable of Thames Valley Police, was speaking after the force’s end of year statistics were released last week.

The report shows that 30 per cent of all arrests over the last year were related to domestic violence.

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With the force’s commitment to zero tolerance on these types of offences, it has led to a 27 per cent increase in formal action for domestic abuse cases.

There has also been a 52 per cent increase in charges for sexual offences and a 36 per cent increase in stalking and harassment charges.  

Last year also saw a slight drop in charges brought in rape cases, from 126 to 121.

In some of these cases, the force will pursue formal charges without a witness statement from the victim in order to deter the offender from repeating the offence with future victims.

“We have a zero tolerance approach for domestic violence,” said Mr Hogg. “One of the changes is we get a report and the victim doesn’t want us to arrest but if we do it makes it unlikely to be a reoccurrence.

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“It sets a really strong precedent that it’s not acceptable. There are some men that make repeat domestic violence offences and move from partner to partner so it’s not just about the individual there and then.”

He added that there is new structure in place to ‘scrutinise investigations into rape and sexual offences’ which should have ‘improved outcomes’ for victims.

“Officers who would investigate crimes like burglary have been refocused to tackle sexual crimes,” said Mr Hogg.

“The second thing we’ve done is a put a designated team in place to oversee all the investigations to make sure we’re taking the most of every opportunity and that team is building close relationships with the Crown Prosecution Service so it really does really like a one team approach.”

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He added that the force has been encourage women and girls to use the ‘StreetSafe’ app, a service for anyone to anonymously tell us about public places where you have felt or feel unsafe.

In April 2022, the force launched its strategy to tackle violence against women and girls, focused on dealing with perpetrators and working with partners to identify sexual and violent offending at the earliest opportunity. 

In an overall statement, the force said: “We also remain fully committed to targeting those who offend and display predatory behavior in the night-time economy.”

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