Police forces in all three branches of the UK’s armed services need to become better in handling domestic abuse cases, says the government watchdog which oversees them.
Victims in the army, navy and air force told investigators from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary they did not feel properly supported, with many feeling ostracised from their units or suffering abuse on social media.
“Opportunities to make early arrests were sometimes missed, resulting in unnecessary delays. There was also little governance in place for the Ministry of Defence to hold the forces to account when it came to performance. Training was inconsistent and not overseen thoroughly,” the inspectorate said.
At present some domestic abuse cases are handled by a specialist investigation branch in the service police forces. “The inspections found that these investigations were all done to a comparable or higher standard than most civilian police forces, in part because investigators had a lower caseload,” the inspectorate stated.
It is recommending a specialist investigation branch take on all domestic abuse cases.
The statutory watchdog identified 21 areas for improvement and made 30 recommendations for the Royal Air Force Police (RAFP); 19 areas for improvement and 32 recommendations for the Army’s Royal Military Police (RMP); and 13 areas for improvement and 30 recommendations for the Royal Navy Police (RNP). The numbers include rape and serious sexual offences which the inspectorate reviewed as well as domestic abuse.