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Commissioner responds to HMICFRS report on the police response to domestic abuse during the pandemic

Last Updated: 23/06/2021

South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael has responded to a report issued today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services on how policing has responded to domestic abuse during the pandemic.

Mr Michael said:

“While the past 15 months have been immensely difficult for everyone, we have worked with a range of partners to keep the people of South Wales safe and the close joint working has brought about some very positive developments, particularly in the area of tackling domestic violence and abuse.

“It is pleasing to see that some of the developments in South Wales, such as the DRIVE programme, have been recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate and I believe the findings are an endorsement of the work we have undertaken to ensure that our local police service is as good as it can be through such a challenging time.

“I am pleased that the Inspectorate has recognised that prevention is at the heart of our approach to keeping South Wales safe. Protecting vulnerable people is a priority so I am particularly pleased to see that our clear focus on protecting victims and working with offenders has been highlighted.

“The cooperation between all parts of the Criminal Justice System in Wales has been so impressive throughout the Covid-19 pandemic so I want to thank the public, the members of my own team and to the Chief Constable, Jeremy Vaughan, and officers and staff across South Wales Police. Together we must now face challenge of recovering from the pandemic while at the same time working hard to reduce and prevent crime in our communities and deal with new and emerging demands that have an impact on policing. We will continue to pursue our shared ambition of giving the communities of South Wales the best possible police service. We will pursue that aim, along with the aim of preventing harm, by working with our partners, always achieving more together than we can achieve alone.”

The DRIVE programme in South Wales is an innovative approach that challenges the behaviour of high risk, high harm perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse. It has been shown to reduce violence, victimisation and reoffending. The results of a three-year, independent evaluation by Bristol University show that the DRIVE programme has significantly reduced levels of harm:

  • 82% reduction in physical abuse,
  • 88% reduction in sexual abuse,
  • 75% reduction in harassment and stalking,
  • 82% reduction in risk to victims.

Mr Michael added:

“These startling figures provide objective evidence of the effectiveness of the DRIVE programme in tackling the type of violence and abuse that has been the scourge of our communities across south Wales for far too long. When we agreed to take part in the first pilot programme, starting with Cwm Taf (Merthyr and RCT) I thought it would help – but these results have exceeded our most optimistic hopes.

“The dramatic findings of the independent evaluation by Bristol University show that DRIVE has significantly reduced harm by changing the behaviour of perpetrators and protecting victims, their families and the wider community.

“It is also delivering clear financial benefits to the police and our partners – particularly the NHS - as we work together to break the cycle of harm. We are proud to have taken the lead in trying out this approach when there was no certainty that it would work. The evaluation shows we were wise to do so.

“Our expansion of the DRIVE programme is a clear example of the unwavering commitment of South Wales Police to early intervention and prevention across our communities, as already demonstrated by our work around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE's) and trauma-informed practices in previous years.”

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