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Police watchdog identifies DA weakness in Kent

Kent Police’s response to domestic abuse is of particular concern, according to Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Roy Wilsher, who also accepts the force is taking steps to improve its handling of such cases.

“The force is rightly proud of some of its work protecting vulnerable people. However, domestic abuse investigation teams have not been properly resourced with suitably qualified staff,” he said in an inspection report on the Kent constabulary.

“This has caused victims to disengage with the force and abusers to escape justice. Alternatives to prosecution, such as prevention orders, aren’t sufficiently used.

“As a result, some victims … have continued to remain at risk. Investigations have often been delayed or are of a poor quality, reducing opportunities to achieve positive outcomes for victims.”

Wilsher noted Kent Police is taking steps to improve by putting more trained detectives into domestic abuse investigation teams, accrediting some team members to detective level, and has appointed a dedicated chief superintendent for domestic abuse to oversee and deliver improvements.

Sector journal Police Professional quoted deputy chief constable Tim Smith as saying: “Repeat domestic abuse offenders are targeted by proactive teams who work closely with partners across a number of agencies to reduce offending and break the cycle of abuse.

“These teams use a range of measures to proactively manage offenders and safeguard victims including regular prison release visits, welfare visits and Domestic Violence Protection Orders.”

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