The recording of the recent online Public Assurance Meeting focussing on Violence Against Women and Girls is now available.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Public Assurance Meetings for the foreseeable future will be held virtually to ensure the safety of the public. 

The Public Assurance Meetings (PAM) are set up to enable the Police and Crime Commissioner to hold the Chief Constable to account.

The first meeting held on the 3rd November 2021 was focused on Derbyshire Constabulary’s ongoing work towards keeping women and girls safe on our streets and in our communities.

The first meeting was recorded and available to view below:

Not every question submitted could be answered during the meeting but these have been answered and also available below.

Answers to the questions raised by the Police and Crime Commissioners for Derbyshire to the Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary

1. Much has been made of the need for a changed culture which hitherto centred on the extent to which women rendered themselves vulnerable, and by association, culpability for the violence visited upon them. How can a cultural change be affected and how will it be monitored, measured and reported upon?   

The force is absolute in its resolve that the focus must be on the behaviour of perpetrators. In areas of criminality that regrettably too often disproportionately affect women and girls, significant effort has been made on being offender focused and pursing evidence led prosecutions. Training has focused on raising awareness of risk factors and indicators or perpetrator behaviours as well as myth-busting surrounding victims, in particular concerning domestic abuse, stalking and serious sexual violence. As a Constabulary, working with partners, we continue to drive the cultural shift from victim-blaming to offender focused. It is not the victim’s responsibility to mitigate the threat and risks posed upon them. 

Of course, there is always more that can be done. Campaigns have often, historically, focused on the vulnerability of females and how to stay safe. However, the Constabulary is keen to change the narrative to be more focused towards disrupting the offender, like the ‘Don’t be that Guy’ campaign.   

In relation to monitoring performance, the force has embedded governance arrangements that sees performance reporting on a monthly basis, chaired by the Deputy Chief Constable, as well as broader partnership reporting. This monitors trends and patterns that provides insights to leaders across the organisation regarding performance. New reporting measures have sharpened our reporting on crime and incidents, specific to violence against women and girls with ongoing efforts to further improve data reporting through partnership data. 

2. Derbyshire Constabulary’s 2021 posters advised women on having a safe night out e.g. stick together, stay on well-lit streets, be aware of CCTV coverage = victim-blaming narratives. Did you consult VAWG sector? Are you tackling causes of men’s violence or onus on women to avoid getting attacked? 

Derbyshire Constabulary is very clear that it is not the victim’s responsibility to mitigate the threat and risks posed to them. A balance has to be struck between focusing on the offender and providing broader safety advice. We are keen to change the narrative to be more focused on disrupting the offender, like the ‘Don’t be that Guy’ campaign. However, in efforts to look at opportunities to improve the feeling of safety, we have provided advice and guidance for women and girls who may want to know what additional measures they might wish to consider. In relation to consultation with VAWG sector, Derbyshire Constabulary did consult and have plans in place to continue to engage across the VAWG sector and partner agencies in relation to future campaigns

3. Are you tackling causes of men’s violence or onus on women to avoid getting attacked? 

The force is absolute in its resolve that the focus must be on the behaviour of perpetrators. In areas of criminality that regrettably too often disproportionately affect women and girls, significant effort has been made on being offender focused and pursing evidence led prosecutions. Training has focused on raising awareness of risk factors and indicators or perpetrator behaviours as well as myth busting surrounding victims, in particular concerning domestic abuse, stalking and serious sexual violence. As a Constabulary, working with partners, we continue to drive the cultural shift from victim blaming to focusing on the offenders. It is not the victim’s responsibility to mitigate the threat and risks posed upon them. 

Of course, there is always more that can be done. Campaigns have often, historically, focused on the vulnerability of females and how to stay safe. However, the Constabulary is keen to change the narrative to be more focused towards disrupting the offender, like the ‘Don’t be that Guy’ campaign.   

In relation to monitoring performance, the force has embedded governance arrangements that sees performance reporting on a monthly basis, chaired by the Deputy Chief Constable, as well as broader partnership reporting. This monitors trends and patterns that provide insights to leaders across the organisation regarding performance. New reporting measures have sharpened our reporting on crime and incidents, specific to violence against women and girls with ongoing efforts to further improve data reporting through partnership data

4. Derbyshire Constabulary’s 2021 posters advised women on having a safe night out e.g. stick together, stay on well-lit streets, be aware of CCTV coverage. These are all victim-blaming narratives. Did you consult the VAWG sector? 

Derbyshire Constabulary is very clear that it is not the victim’s responsibility to mitigate the threat and risks posed to them. A balance has to be struck between focusing on the offender and providing broader safety advice. We are keen to change the narrative to be more focused towards disrupting the offender, like the ‘Don’t be that Guy’ campaign. However, in efforts to look at opportunities to improve the feeling of safety, we have provided advice and guidance for women and girls who may want to know what additional measures they might wish to consider. In relation to consultation with VAWG sector, Derbyshire Constabulary did consult, and have plans in place to continue to engage across the VAWG sector and partner agencies in connection with future campaigns.  

5. Will the emphasis be on women changing their behaviour (as it has been in the past)? Or will you be using the data you have on misogyny as a hate crime to tackle the issues around male violence against women? 

Answered partly in question 2 – Additionally, a specific Violence Against Women and Girls strategy is being led by a senior officer which will review data to achieve the many different work streams.   

6. What do you plan to do about the fact that most reported sexual assaults never see a court room? 

This is a concern for the force and policing nationally. Fundamentally the force should have reassurance that the service being provided to victims is of high quality including the investigation, the capture of evidence and the presentation of the case. Not all cases will achieve the required evidential threshold, but the force must be in a position to ensure this is not down to investigative deficiencies or poor service.   

The force has a dedicated specialist team that deals with serious sexual offences, with some being dealt with by dedicated divisional teams. Scrutiny panels are held (every eight weeks) with support from the Independent Advisory Group to robustly review a range of various aspects of the investigation.  

Early engagement with the Crown Prosecution Service is vital to the progress of the investigation and this is a service offered specifically for offences of this nature.  

The force is committed to improving performance in this area and bringing offenders to justice. Consequently, the force has requested an external peer review to ensure any learning and best practice can be absorbed, resulting in victims receiving the best possible service.

Derbyshire Police would like to take this opportunity to thank the victims of serious sexual offences for their courage in reporting crimes of this nature. Without them, we cannot understand the risk and threat posed to our communities or bring offenders to justice.   

7. How many estimated incidents of rape and domestic violence are going unreported in the policing area and what is being done to bring these victims into the fold of police protection, investigation and ultimately safety. Do we have adequate resources to deal with this “dark figure” of crime? 

Derbyshire Police are proactively working with partner agencies to establish appropriate pathways for anonymous reporting. This ensures victims are supported, evidence is obtained for future should the victim wish to pursue a complaint. Also, from a police perspective, we gain an understanding of the nature of offending, which may otherwise have gone unreported. It is difficult to estimate the number of unreported offences, however, we will continue to raise awareness of the issue to build public confidence in reporting. 

8. A friend was assaulted by a drunk male 2 weeks ago. She was not ‘harmed’ as he fell over and she ran away. When she phoned the police to report this, she was asked “did you push him, if you did that’s assault”. How can you say you’re prioritising safety when this is still the response people get? 

Whenever a report is made to the police it is essential to understand the circumstances to assess risk and understand the needs of those involved. We cannot comment on this case as we do not have sufficient information, however, we would be more than happy to have this incident reviewed to ensure the appropriate service has been delivered along with any support that is required. 

9. Women, particularly young women, need to be assured of their safety when in bars and clubs. The police need to be working in more partnership with bars to explore how measures can be put in place to prevent harassment and spiking within such establishments. 

Derbyshire Constabulary has proactively sought funding via the SWAN fund, which if successful shall focus on night-time economy in the county. In particular, identifying and supporting women on a night out and targeting males that appear to be acting inappropriately. We shall also look to take the learning and opportunities identified as part of Operation Vigilance, which focused on the night-time economy in the Thames Valley Police area. 

We have also linked in with other forces who have seen an increase in offences of “spiking” to identify any good practice and learn from their experiences. 

10. What do you plan to do to tackle the new wave of spiking we are experiencing? What punishments will spiking (especially via injection) carry? 

Any offence of spiking, whether by injection or not, will be dealt with seriously and effectively using the most appropriate legislation for the circumstances. It is a matter for the courts regarding the appropriate sentence, but the role of the police is to investigate and present all the relevant information so that a prosecution can be pursued.  

All officers and staff have been briefed regarding the action to take should a report of this nature be reported and importantly the support to victims. A review has also been undertaken regarding the forensic collection of evidence to ensure we maximise every opportunity in our pursuit to keep people safe and bring offenders to justice. We are currently investigating two reports of needle spiking incidents (as of 15th November).

Through the national network, we have linked in with forces who have reported increased “spiking” offences.  This provides us with an insight into crime trends as well as opportunities to identify good practices

11. How is Derbyshire Police addressing the issue of drinks being drugged and young girls being spiked on nights out? There needs to be a coordinated response with publicans etc. What actions are being taken to address this? 

Derbyshire Constabulary Licencing departments are working jointly with licenced premises to educate staff on the signs of spiking and perpetrator behaviour. This advice and guidance have also been circulated to all police staff to ensure our approach is joined up. The force has good working relationships with the local authorities who have responsibilities for licenced premises.  

12. The police need to engage in an awareness campaign in Derbyshire to educate girls/women on what circumstances they can be detained on if they were approached by a single male policeman (eg Wayne Couzins) – if women were educated on this, lives could be saved. What is the police doing to address this? 

The Chief Constable has made it very clear that the onus is on the police service to ensure women and girls feel safe. The police service is obliged to ensure members of the public are fully informed as to the reasons why police powers are being exercised. This should not be a responsibility forced upon women and girls. The Chief Constable has introduced additional measures to support this, which include the use of body-worn video during interactions, seeking assistance from colleagues prior to approaching lone females and confirming their identity and location via the force control room. A workstream has also been commissioned, which is led by a senior officer this will examine all opportunities to ensure women are girls feel safe from harm.  

13. Many women who have reported violence and domestic abuse in Derbyshire are unhappy with the response of investigating officers. Do you accept that there is an unhelpful culture affecting the approach of some Derbyshire Police Officers, and what measures will you put in place to tackle this? 

The Chief Constable and Senior Leadership team are clear in their expectations of officers and staff when responding to domestic abuse and reports of violence. This is a force priority and much has been done to improve awareness, training and in turn the quality of investigations and service in these areas.  

Measures are in place to quality assure our work to ensure activity meets the necessary standards, including scrutiny panels, some of which are independently chaired, investigation panels which quality assure investigations as well as performance monitoring, which includes feedback from victims regarding their experiences and overall satisfaction. These various strands of information all feed into the force’s performance framework which ensures scrutiny and where standards or performance fall below what is expected, the force has mechanisms in place to address these appropriately. Current data regarding satisfaction levels with female victims of violence is high.  

14.  Domestic violence is on the rise for younger couples who have even less of a chance to make it out of the relationship. What resources do you plan to offer to these younger women? 

The PCC commissions a range of support services for survivors of domestic abuse. These services cover a range of demographics to ensure that there is suitable free and confidential provision for all. For perpetrators of domestic abuse, we also commission young perpetrator schemes, including Cease Intervention Programme (13-17 years), Remedi Together Families Programme (10-17.5 years) and CEASE Educational Programme (13-24 years). 

15. What support will there be for black and brown women as they face additional barriers when reporting and barriers to accessing mainstream DV services. 

We are currently in the process of recommissioning a DA support service that we already provide, but as part of the specification for this service there is a new requirement for the prospective service to have a provision that is representative of the communities in Derbyshire. In particular, there is reference to South Asian, Eastern European and African communities. All services that bid for this commission with be assessed against these specific criteria alongside the other requirements as part of the commissioning process. 

16.  What is the process when consulting with DV services? Is it mainly commissioned services? How do you ensure that the process includes all women and all services that support them to ensure a fair process as one cap does not fit all.

As above, the commissioning process is designed to ensure that there is a fair process that the various needs of the communities within Derbyshire, including minority and hard to reach communities. 

17. What measures are in place for monitoring City and County adoption of the new Domestic Abuse Bill? 

During the last 9 months, there has been a multi-agency implementation group, which has met on a monthly basis and from this has generated the public needs questionnaire which has been circulated to all domestic abuse services and public forums. This has steered our approach to the implementation and commissioning of services. This is governed through the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Governance group, which is a multi-agency strategic group and the adoption of the Domestic Abuse Act heavily informs the partnerships domestic abuse strategy.  

18. Removing women from immediate danger from a domestic violence situation deals with the immediate threat to life, it does not address the financial aspects which is often why a woman re-enters a violent situation. Other agencies need to be involved in any new response – are you addressing this?  

Derbyshire Constabulary utilises the charity DA Assist for advocacy, which support victims of domestic abuse acquiring civil orders, financial support. This, together with support from Independent Domestic Violence Advocates, Independent Sexual Violence Advocates and the Domestic Abuse Intervention Management team all focus on ensuring wider needs are assessed with appropriate support / signposting.  

19. The Grace Spinks tragedy raises the concern over a coordinated police response. How are you addressing the issue of linking two incidences? (public found weapons and reported), young female raises stalking concern. Police coordination in linking two incidences needs to be reviewed. 

The IOPC are investigating our response to Gracie Spinks and the report that Gracie made, so we are not able to comment on the specifics of the case.  However, it’s really important and we cannot stress enough that we are really determined to learn from the incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Gracie so we will do whatever we can once we get the report to make sure we learn. 

Whilst we are waiting for that report, we have done some work in force beforehand looking at our response to stalking and where there are areas where we can improve.   Since Gracie’s tragic death there have been a number of significant measures that have been introduced.   And we have developed a plan for the force regarding stalking. Deputy Chief Constable Kate Meynell oversees this, and this is reviewed monthly to make sure we are progressing on the areas we have identified where we need to improve.  The first thing we have done is create a new training package for all front-line staff due to conclude in January 2022.  Already half of the organisation have received this training.  We have also looked at training Superintendents who have received training to understand their responsibility regarding stalking prevention orders. They are aware of what can be offered, and they can encourage officers, where appropriate, to apply for stalking prevention orders. Also ensured that all sergeants, all staff in force control room and supervising staff are enrolled on a homicide timeline training course which has now commenced and again will help them to understand their role and how some of these incidents can escalate.  We have a refreshed guidance for all officers which is available 24 hours a day on our internal intranet system. This has been updated and contains more details on stalking prevention orders, on new powers of search for section 2 stalking offences.      

All members of the leadership team have published vlogs talking about areas around not just stalking but vulnerability to raise awareness across the organisation and for individuals to understand the impact of stalking on victims and vulnerable people to ensure we have a good understanding in the organisation but also really clear about our determination to deliver the best service we can and protect the vulnerable in the best way we can.  We have also given additional training to all staff around THRIVE (threat, harm, risk, investigation, vulnerability) and enable our staff to use this in investigations to understand what the risk is and identify the level of service we need to provide and ensure we identify risk at the earliest opportunity. 

We have also reviewed all current cases of stalking following Gracie’s death and make sure that lessons from these have formed part of the training given and also the guidance for officers and we used them to check we are not making the same mistakes again and we are making sure we learn from what has been identified.  We are also undertaking ongoing stalking audits along with those for domestic abuse and serious sexual offences.  There are approximately 50 of these done per month these are done by a Detective Inspector who investigates these to reassure themselves and check that the investigation lines of enquiry are appropriate, and that threat and risk has been assessed correctly.  Any concerns go through to our operational leads around stalking and domestic abuse. 

Our stalking cases are now reviewed through our independent scrutiny panel – again this allows us to get a different type of feedback around our investigations and then we share this learning across the organisation.  I have mentioned before about spiking incidents and importance of working with the five forces of the East Midlands.  We have Regional Stalking Meetings where each regional lead meets and these are quarterly meetings and at these meetings experience a good practice is shared as well as our representative sitting on the National Stalking Working Group which is chaired by the NPCC Stalking Lead so we can access all the good practice and learning and development and improvements we can make. 

In relation to improvement around stalking and the work we have been doing and also the wider vulnerability work, the Vulnerability Governance Board and Performance Assurance Board, both chaired by myself, I am able to hold people to account around performance and scrutinise what they are doing to reassure what we are doing what we should be doing and moving in the right direction. There is a lot of work there and it is very much a continual learning process, we are determined that we will not sit back and just identify one process and stick with it. There is a lot of work being undertaken and we will make sure that we will continue to learn from our own experiences as well as from external feedback and from other forces across the country.

20. What are you doing to improve after several cases of the force failing to protect women reporting harassment/stalking from men (including ex-partners)? 

Comments cannot be made about these specific cases as the details are not known. 

Derbyshire takes offences of harassment and stalking very seriously, and staff s received several strands of training to ensure they have the understanding and skills to deal with these appropriately. There is a clear performance governance structure, which includes regular quality checks of these offences, through local processes and force independently chaired scrutiny panels. Where the standard of an investigation falls below that we would expect, the learning is circulated to the wider organisation and feedback is given to that officer. Formal action is taken against individuals that consistently fall below this standard. 

Derbyshire Constabulary promotes the use of the Victim’s Right to Review Scheme and ensures cases that meet this criterion are reviewed independently. Where appropriate, decisions are overturned, and advice is given. 

21. What consideration is being given to providing advocates for people who experience serious sexual assaults and/or domestic abuse? The case for advocacy provision is gaining momentum and is referenced in the work of Tom Milland, founder and CEO of AAFDA (Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse). 

Derbyshire Constabulary utilises the charity, DA Assist for advocacy, who support victims of domestic abuse acquiring civil orders and financial support.  In addition, various support services, including Independent Violence Advocates and Independent Sexual Violence Advocates. We also have advocates who specialise in supporting children. We have also supported additional support workers to collocate with the domestic abuse and dedicated rape teams to enhance working together. 

22. Charges against the feminist Marion Millar have been dropped today. Ms Millar was prosecuted in Scotland for tweeting in support of ‘gender critical’ views. What would Derbyshire Police do differently if this had happened locally? 

Without specifics of the case and understanding what this means for England and Wales judiciary it would be inappropriate to comment. 

23. What definition of Violence are you using? • Physical, unwanted touching of the body. • Psychological, unwanted attacking of the mind. • Or by third party (harm to family or friend etc.) • Or by all three. 

Who is this aimed at?

Is this only for biological females, born female at birth.

Does it cover Male to Female Transgender person, if so when does it start along the transition journey.

Does it cover Female to Male  Transgender person, if so when does it start ( and possibly stop ) along the transition journey.

Does it cover Male Cross-dressing as Female at the time.

Does it cover Female Cross-dressing as Male at the time.

Person with Disability.

Where / who is, be class as a safe place to go or see when this happens, if the person can make it?

With my devils advocated hat on! 

In what situation is covered?

Would you say it would go as far as?

Under the Good and Services Act (or any other Act or legislation) or by a Statutory Bodies or Non-Statutory Bodies?

Was to course any

Physical, unwanted touching of the body.

Psychological, unwanted attacking of the mind.

Or by third party (harm to family or friend etc.)

Or by all three.

By not providing the right piece of equipment or services that they now that your body will be harmed by, the body starting to, skin breakdown and bleed and get infections and so on etc.

Or by discrimination and prejudices towards you and the affect that has on you both Physical and Psychological, be it by an indirect route.

Policing must operate within the confines of the law. There are statutory definitions of what constitutes assault. Definitions do not limit assault to physical harm. Derbyshire Police would encourage anyone who believes they have been harmed to report incidents to the police and allow us to determine what services are required. Many offences can be committed directly or indirectly.  

Accurate recording of data is essential to inform effective policing. The force works within national crime recording standards as to how crimes are recorded. This is important to ensure consistency and the data gathered is meaningful for investigative and preventative opportunities.  

However, we would encourage anyone who believes they have been the victim of crime or harmed to report their concerns to the force. It is important that we understand criminality and vulnerability in our county to provide the best service possible in the right areas at the right time. Individuals will be listened to and shown respect regardless. 

24. Rough sleeping women experience a significant amount of serious violence, both physical and sexual, whilst being perpetrators of crime themselves. Their presentation/behaviours are often chaotic and complex which make the right police response challenging. How can partners respond together better? 

All women and girls will be treated with respect and be listened to regardless. A variety of services are available which can be tailored to individual needs (see question 42). We do recognise homelessness adds additional vulnerabilities and we work with partners to provide the appropriate service. Patrol plans consider hot spot areas by safer neighbourhood teams across the force. A Safer Streets bid has recently been successful, this will deliver numerous initiatives over the coming months including improved CCTV and lighting at vulnerable locations. This is a fitting example of partners working together.  

25. Women’s groups recognise prostitution as sexually abusive exploitation which is harmful to all women and girls. Does Derbyshire Police support the abolitionist model, criminalising those who exploit prostituted people (including pimps and sex buyers) and decriminalising the prostituted? 

Derbyshire Constabulary tackle all forms of criminality which exploits individuals, which includes sexual exploitation. Within these investigations, concerted effort is made by investigators to identify victims of trafficking, exploitation, and modern-day slavery. In relation to prostitution, the Police regularly work with Women’s Work, providing crime prevention advice, sexual health advice and identify any controlling, coercive behaviour form others which would raise concerns of wider exploitation. In addition, we take positive action against those who are seeking out sexual services. 

Work is currently ongoing to allow even greater understanding of vulnerability linked to prostitution but introducing the ability to highlight vulnerability concerns as specifically linked to prostitution, and to enable the automatic notification of these concerns to relevant teams and departments. This will lead to a more comprehensive knowledge of those linked to sexual exploitation, building information over time to allow more targeted work. 

26. What is being done to make sure that men (and men of the future) can understand how to behave towards women, as it can never be only women’s responsibility to make sure they are safe? 

Firstly, the chief constable has to be satisfied the behaviour of all officers and staff is reflective of the expectations of the public regarding behaviour. The force has robust vetting processes, standards of professional behaviour and a reporting mechanism to ensure any concerns can be raised quickly, including confidential reporting. All allegations of abuse of authority or internal misconduct are treated seriously.    

Looking outwardly, the force has commissioned a work stream focussing on violence against women and girls. This is led by a senior officer. A significant part of this work is to understand the scale and nature of the issue. The force has been pro-active and has had good mechanisms in place to achieve this with information and intelligence collection and gender hate recording. Part of this work stream also focusses on investigations and suspect management, ensuring robust action is taken, which can offer intervention and prevention opportunities. The key overarching aim is to prevent violence against women and girls. It is vital that the force does not work alone in this effort and valued partnership contribution is necessary to change culture and behaviour beyond policing. The force is committed to working in partnership to achieve this.  

Internally the Chief Constable has made it very clear to all officers and staff members the onus is on the force to ensure women and girls feel safe within our communities, this work stream supports that message.  

  

27. So many of the ‘solutions’ offered, to prevent violence against women, seem to be aimed AT women. What ideas have you got, a female Police & Crime Commissioner, to stop men from abusing, groping, assaulting, raping and murdering women? We seem to forget that one woman a week is murdered by a man. 

Firstly, it is imperative that we continue to increase our understanding of the nature and scale of the issue and promote the reporting of incidents and crimes relating to violence against women and girls. This enables the police, and partners, to take action, whether this be from creating safer spaces or attacking criminality where crimes have been committed. 

In April 2021 the force launched its own programme around gender-based hate, recognising this as an issue. Gender-based hate and misogyny are not yet formally recognised as hate crimes in legislation and are not recorded in all forces. However, Derbyshire recognised the impact gender-based hate could have, especially if based in misogyny, on the impact of feelings of safety of women and girls in the city and county. Since this date it has recorded over 50 reports. This includes instances which have been investigated and recorded as crimes which might not have been reported to the force had it not adopted this approach. Other instances have been recorded which have not met the threshold of a crime, but which have been very frightening instances for women. In these cases, the force has been able to provide reassurance and access to victim support services. 

Secondly, there must be a focus on proactively intervening at the earliest opportunity and ensuring the effective robust management of offenders who pose a risk. This is to maximise the opportunities of breaking the cycle of abuse and providing longer term solutions. New teams such as DRIVE and a Domestic Abuse Intervention Management team in force are seeing a renewed focused on multi-agency perpetrator intervention and disruption programmes. Initiatives such as Intuitive Thinking Skills, a further perpetrator programme in the County which focuses on group work to address perpetrator perceptions in relation to abuse and CEASE, which is a programme focused on 13-17years olds who have committed domestic abuse towards partners or family members, are all examples of how we need to think broader than policing to tackle this issue.

28. As a mature guy I hope I am respectful of others. However, it is very likely that we men should have access to education programmes to improve personal behaviour. Is such education being made available?

Current provision does relate to those suspected of committing offences in efforts to break the cycle and reduce re-offending. This falls within various perpetrator programmes. However, a good point is raised in relation to general universal advice regarding how to improve personal behaviour and societal norms. This focus has traditionally been addressed through media campaigns however worthwhile raising across partner agencies in relation to wider educational opportunities.  

29. 2 articles on BBC website 23 Oct Man drugged, robbed and filmed himself stripping and raping woman. Sentenced to 7 yrs and 2 months. Man raped man, given life sentence -15 /20 yrs. Is rape of a man twice as serious as rape of a woman? What message does that send about violence towards women? 

Context must be applied in every case. We do not know the specifics of these cases to provide any opinion on the sentencing. A key point to note is the role of the police is to gather information, intelligence and evidence to establish the true facts of any investigation. It is a matter for the judicial process to determine any sentence. What we can say is that victims who report crimes to Derbyshire Constabulary are treated compassionately and respectfully regardless of gender.    

30. Why is it that a man who’s identity is protected by court as he had a head injury (although I believe this to be exaggerated) is free to beat rape and drug multiple women one also committed suicide after the rape is not allowed to be named on Claires law??? 

Comments cannot be made about this specific case as the details are not known. However, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare’s Law) is in place to allow the police to disclose relevant information to those that may be at risk from their partner or ex-partner. Any information, whether this is derived from a conviction, non-conviction, or other police information, can be disclosed to a relevant person if it is deemed to be necessary to keep them safe or reduce the risk to them. 

  

31. Will the police be asking Derbyshire County Council to reverse their policy of switching off street lighting between midnight and 5am? 

The Constabulary work very closely with the local authority and have a shared commitment to reducing crime and the fear of crime in relation to violence against women and girls. Every proportionate effort should be taken to design out crime. However, this should be intelligence led or evidence based if we are to ensure that we are targeting our efforts towards the areas of greatest community concern.  

The force proactively accesses information from the Safe Street Portal, a national Home Office anonymous reporting tool for women and girls to report places where they felt unsafe, either due to the environment or because a specific incident had taken place. Derbyshire Constabulary undertake an assessment daily of all submission to determine what immediate action is needed. This information, together with broader force intelligence and data, including gender hate recordings, provides valuable insights in understanding where the focus should be as a partnership in terms of broader initiatives, such as street lighting, CCTV opportunities and targeted campaigns. The new OPCC Public Survey being launched in November 21 shall also inform this activity moving forwards. 

32.  In rural communities the street lights are entirely insufficient and with no police presence women are left to walk in the dark with no guarantees for their safety. What do you plan to do about this? 

Improving the feeling of safety for women and girls when out in communities, is a focus of the VAWG strategy. Wherever possible, targeting our efforts should be on the areas of community concern, which often requires us to be intelligence led or evidence based.   

The force proactively accesses information from the Safe Street Portal, a national Home Office anonymous reporting tool for women and girls to report places where they felt unsafe, either due to the environment or because a specific incident had taken place. Derbyshire Constabulary undertake an assessment daily of all submission to determine what immediate action is needed. This information, together with broader force intelligence and data, including gender hate recording, provides valuable insights in understanding where the focus should be as a partnership in terms of broader initiatives, such as street lighting, CCTV opportunities and targeted campaigns. The new OPCC Public Survey being launched in November 21 shall also inform this activity moving forwards. 

33.  In light of the research evidence on psychosexual development and emphasis on prevention, what work is the PCC’s office doing now to address the impending outfall from a generation, about to reach sexual maturity, who have had prolonged exposure to hardcore pornographic material from a young age? 

This question highlights the broader societal issues which need addressing regarding the potential impact that exposure to graphic material may have on the de-sensitisation of individuals and normalisation of harmful behaviours.  

From a Police perspective, the force’s approach to dealing with instances, such as sexting, is one where we do not seek to criminalise children, but instead focus on education and intervention. Notwithstanding, that as unpalatable as it may seem, some children will be child offenders and where aggravating circumstances are present, officers shall respond appropriately. Within Derbyshire, we have introduced a Harmful Sexualised Behaviour panel for children that commit sexual offences. Here we explore with Youth Offending Services, Social Care and others the appropriateness for out of court disposals and supportive work as an alternative to prosecution.  

In addition, the Commissioner has match funded with the Home office a number of bespoke interventions and services targeted in the education and prevention arenas, to prevent young people from being harmed by domestic and sexual abuse and from becoming adult perpetrators themselves, or from perpetrating abuse as children on each other, their peers, their siblings and adult parents and carers.

The Commissioner also funds additional support to children through the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) resources, this has increased the level of both Independent Sexual Abuse and Domestic Abuse Advocates with child specialisms and a range of grant funding supporting young people to prevent them become perpetrators on other children or becoming adult perpetrators later on in life.

The Commissioner commissions a service for children at high risk of criminal and sexual exploitation and within this service they work with the individual on a one to one basis to look at how or why they had accessed this material. Specifically looking at identity, self-esteem and healthy relationships of the individual, as well as educating on the importance of online safety.  This work would be included as part of their child protection or child in need plans that are undertaken.

34.  There needs to be education in schools to address the subtleties of coercive control so that boys/men understand what is – to try to prevent domestic violence in the future. What action is being taken to address this? 

As a force, we support initiatives such as Intuitive Thinking Skills, a further perpetrator programme in the County which focuses on group work to address perpetrator perceptions in relation to abuse and CEASE, which is a programme focused on 13-17years olds who have committed domestic abuse towards partners or family members. These are educational based, and we shall continue to seek out broader opportunity, in partnership, to raise awareness of the issues and importantly healthy relationships. 

The force recognises that adverse childhood experiences such as being exposed to domestic abuse and neglect can have lasting consequences. By taking enforcement action, even where complainants will not support a prosecution, the force aims to minimise such negative influences and provide affected children with improved life chances. This is part of our daily activity. We hope that this will serve to stop many children repeating their lived experiences when they grow. 

35.  How are you ensuring better funding for grassroots services that work relentlessly and a lot of the time unpaid to ensure the safety of all women? 

The commissioning process actively seeks out co-commissioning bids. We bid for Home Office funding arrangements in order to secure sufficient funding to provide relevant services for the people of Derbyshire. All services, both large and small, go through a fair commissioning service. The requirements of the commission must be met, but there is also a focus on the experience of the service in delivering the services locally. This ensures that there is a local focus to the provision to achieve the best service possible. 

36.  What measures are in place for monitoring City and County adoption of the new Domestic Abuse Bill? 

During the last 9 months there has been a multi-agency implementation group, which has met on a monthly basis and from this has generated the public needs questionnaire which has been circulated to all domestic abuse services and public forums. This has steered our approach to the implementation and commissioning of services. This is governed through the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Governance group, which is a multi-agency strategic group and the adoption of the Domestic Abuse Act heavily informs the partnerships domestic abuse strategy.  

37.  What work is being undertaken and is planned with other agencies – statutory, non-statutory and voluntary – to ensure a partnership approach to the safety of women and girls, this being an issue that cannot be addressed solely by police? 

There is significant partnership working, with commissioned and non-commissioned support services, to tackle violence against women and girls. At a strategic level support has been galvanised across partners to form a countywide violence against women and girl’s strategy, which will see significant workstreams delivered. Operational activity is undertaken in partnership which ensures a multi-agency response. For example, Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference(s) (MARAC) ensure a joint approach to domestic abuse, Management of Public Protection Arrangements focus on the management of sex and violence offenders in partnership and multi-agency tasking in relation to Child Exploitation to name a few. 

38.  What are your plans for work in co-production with local women’s organisations? 

There is significant partnership working, with commissioned and non-commissioned support services, to tackle violence against women and girls. At a strategic level support has been galvanised across partners to form a countywide violence against women and girl’s strategy, which will see significant workstreams delivered. Operational activity is undertaken in partnership which ensures a multi-agency response. For example, Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) ensure a joint approach to domestic abuse, Management of Public Protection Arrangements focus on the management of sex and violence offenders in partnership and multi-agency tasking in relation to Child Exploitation to name a few. 

In addition, the force works with other organisations including Refuge, DAAS, The Elm Foundation and Aquarius, Women’s Work and others.  

39. Derbyshire Constabulary have been ‘recording’ misogyny/misandry as a hate crime/incident for several months without any associated public awareness campaign to inform the public… how will the PCC ensure that those affected are informed and aware that they can report eg street harassment etc? 

The chief constable commissioned the recording of gender hate in 2020 and after much work this went live in April 2021. Since then, over 50 reports of gender hate incidents or crimes motivated by gender hate have been reported, some may never have been reported had gender hate not been introduced to the force. The reporting of these incidents has allowed victims to be engaged with support services and provided the police with investigative and preventative opportunities to ensure our communities are safe. 

Engagement with the media, including social media promotion was undertaken at the time with all relevant information being available on our website. A further update was also provided as recent as 15 October 2021 detailing the positive response and encouraging the reporting of gender hate.  

All information, including how to report a crime or incident can be found on the Derbyshire Constabulary website – www.derbyshire.police.uk  

The Commissioner has publicised information on the OPCC’s website- https://www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk/News-and-Events-Meetings/News-Archive/2021/PR-880.aspx –  regarding how the public can alert the Constabulary to specific locations in Derbyshire that have made them feel unsafe and why – regardless of whether a crime has occurred, which would include incidents of misogyny/misandry and hate crime. The public can inform the Constabulary of these areas of concern by using the Street Safe app – www.police.uk/streetsafe .  

40. Why so little Derbys Police/PCC communication on the new option to report misogynist hate incidents/crimes? Many will not know they have a right to report sexist street harassment, online abuse etc yet Notts Police worked with women’s groups on a trailblazer campaign on consent & street harassment 

Please see the answer to Q39 above. The Commissioner welcomes the Street Safe service and the accurate insight it will give into the public’s safety and fears of crime across Derbyshire.

41. Given your focus on Violence against Women and Girls will you press for the law to be changed to include misogyny in the list of hate crimes so that it will incur a 25% uplift when sentencing? 

As PCC I want to see how the measures we are putting in place with regards to violence against women and girls improve the current situation and see the outcome. I understand why there is a call for this but I am unsure that it would achieve the outcome we are all seeking to achieve in terms of making our streets safer for women and girls.

Since April 21, the force has started recording incidence of gender hate. The report I have received suggest that (as above): The reporting of these incidents has allowed victims to be engaged with support services and provided the police with investigative and preventative opportunities to ensure our communities are safe. I will continue to monitor the impact of this on safety.

42. What knowledge and expertise on working to address issues of women’s safety/domestic abuse can the PCC herself bring to support Derbyshire Constabulary and effectively hold it to account? The subject is complex, I’d expect the PCC to have sound understanding, relevant expertise, and experience. 

A PCC is an elected representative. The regulation that relates to the requirements for becoming a candidate in PCC election does not require expertise in any particular field. It is for each individual to decide who to vote for. The role of the PCC is to hold the police to account to ensure they deliver an effective policing service in all areas of policing. The PCC is being supported by a team who has considerable experience and knowledge in this area which helps inform the work the PCC undertakes to hold the Chief Constable to account.

43. Given recent killings of Terri Harris & children & Gracie Spinks, IOPC referrals & critique of Derbyshire’s recording & handling of VAWG, PCC no-show at Derby Peace Week VAWG panel attended by a victim with badly handled Clare’s Law request with questions for PCC, how will you rebuild women’s trust? 

This is a critical area policing and we strive to improve our services within Derbyshire. We are determined to identify and address any areas for improvement that are identified. We seek to be open and transparent in all cases so that the public are aware of the work that is ongoing in this area. We seek to build trust by continuing with this approach and constantly striving to improve so that we provide the best service for the people of Derbyshire. 

The Commissioner was unable to attend, due to unforeseen circumstances.  However, any questions should be forwarded to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for response from the Commissioner.

44. Can you please provide reassurance that crimes relating to VAWG will be reported by the birth sex of the perpetrators ( possibly in addition to the preferred gender of the perpetrators) in order to fully and accurately monitor the scale of male-on-female violence in Derbyshire? 

Accurate recording of data is essential to inform effective policing. The force works within national crime recording standards as to how crimes are recorded. This is important to ensure consistency and the data gathered is meaningful for investigative and preventative opportunities.  

45. Can you recommend how females can query the presence of males in female single sex spaces without being at risk of being reported for hate speech? Or is it never acceptable to do that? 

This question wasn’t fully understood and unfortunately, the requester was anonymous therefore, we have been unable to seek further clarification from the requester, in order to be able to provide a suitable response.

46. Will you follow the example of Surrey PCC Lisa Townsend by advocating for ceasing to employ the services of Stonewall? 

Neither Derbyshire OPCC nor Derbyshire Constabulary currently use the services of Stonewall. 

47. How often are DA prosecutions pursued without support from the victim? (Numbers in past 12 months, proportion of all DA prosecutions in past 12 months)

There is currently no national reporting regarding evidence led prosecutions. However, the force has recognised there is a need to understand this position in Derbyshire. Work is ongoing to identify an efficient process to understand where the police have pursued evidence led prosecutions. The same issue is also encountered with the Crown Prosecution Service.

However, our officers and staff are fully aware of the opportunities to secure independent evidence including body worn video, witnesses, CCTV and injury recording to support evidence led prosecution, to protect victims and prevent further offences.

48. Can the force provide reassurance that practices regarding stalking victims have been re-evaluated since the death of Gracie Spinks earlier this year? 

A full review of how the force investigates stalking offences has been undertaken following the tragic death of Gracie Spinks. This has been led by the chief officer team with specific direction and focus to all members of staff.

The review has focussed on the service to victims, the investigation, suspect management and preventative opportunities.

A new training package has been developed and is currently being delivered to all front-line officers and staff, with half of the work force having already received the training. This is due to conclude in January 2022.

Part of the improved practices also include increased use of utilising existing legislation in the form of Stalking Prevention Orders (SPOs). The force has already seen a significant improvement in this area.

Professor Jane Monckton-Smith’s Homicide Timeline Training has also been commissioned for all first line operational supervisors and call operators to raise awareness and improve service. Part of the training has emphasised the absolute need to understand the risks to victims at the first point of contact.

Quality assurance audits now form part of monthly assessments specific to stalking, domestic abuse and serious sexual offences. These are undertaken by senior detectives.  In addition, stalking cases are now reviewed within the Independently chaired Scrutiny panels and Divisional investigation Panels (DIPs) for individual and wider force learning. 

Derbyshire Constabulary has a force lead for stalking who is also now the regional lead and best practice is shared amongst the 5 East Midland forces at the Regional Stalking meetings, which are held on a quarterly basis. The Regional lead also represents the East Midland Region at the National Stalking Working Group, chaired by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Stalking Lead.

Stalking improvement and performance are held accountable at both the Vulnerability Governance board and Performance Assurance Board, which are chaired by the Deputy Chief Constable.

The death of Gracie Spinks is currently being independently investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). Progress and developments are shared with the IOPC to ensure transparency and learning.

49. How many DVPNs have been breached in the past 12 months and how many of these offenders have been prosecuted?

Derbyshire Constabulary have applied for 160 Domestic Violence Protection Notice/Orders during 2021.

These orders provide additional protection for victims with specific conditions that the suspect must adhere to. Any breaches are taken very seriously, and robust action is taken resulting in arrest and appearance in court.

154 applications (96%) by Derbyshire Constabulary were successfully granted by the court. Of these Derbyshire has recorded 27 breaches, (17%) which have all been presented to the court.  

50. What happens when someone breaches a SPO?  What proportion of SPO breaches have been prosecuted in the past 12 months?

The force understands the requirement for robust action to be taken when Stalking Prevention Orders (SPO) are breached. The suspect is arrested, interviewed and evidence is gathered which is presented to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision.  

The force has recorded 2 breaches of a SPO, (Same perpetrator), where the victim lives within Derbyshire and the perpetrator lives in another County. Derbyshire Constabulary have worked with the other force to ensure that the perpetrator was put back before the court as well as supporting the victim and implementing safeguarding measures.

The force continues to increase opportunities to secure SPO’s with a 100% increase in submissions to the courts between July 2021 and September 2021, compared to the previous 18 months.

51. How many officers/staff are currently under investigation for sexual misconduct?

We currently have 5 members of staff currently under investigation for sexual misconduct.

52. What measures do the force have in place for employees to report concerns about a colleague’s behaviour?

The force has a very clear stance regarding professional conduct, including sexual misconduct of which there is a specific priority within the Professional Standards Department.

The force expects officers to adhere to the Police (conduct) regulations and additionally expects staff to report where behaviour falls below the required standard.

There are numerous ways in which officers and staff can report such behaviour to the Professional Standards Department which include, a confidential reporting system, direct reporting via telephone, email, letter or in person, reporting to first line or second line managers, reporting to the Senior Leadership Team, reporting to staff networks or via other third parties.  

The force receives a mixture of all the aforementioned.

A survey around sexual misconduct in the workplace has also been commissioned.

PLEASE NOTE: With the exception of legally required data and historic financial records, the majority of the information on the Derbyshire OPCC website covers information, news and events for the current Commissioner only. For access to news articles and information covering the previous Commissioners please contact the OPCC team.
NewsThe recording of the recent online Public Assurance Meeting focussing on Violence Against Women and Girls is now available.
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