North Wales Police Boss to Teach Abusers a Lesson

A police boss is stepping up the campaign against domestic violence and wants to set up a special programme for perpetrators to prevent further attacks.

The Police and CRime Commissioner Arfon Jones met students at Coleg Llandrillo

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones would like to see the setting up of a regional programme to educate those who use violence against their partners.

Mr Jones is also investigating the possibility of training GPs to spot the signs of the abuse in their patients.

The commissioner highlighted the importance of clamping down on domestic violence as he spoke about his role to students in the second year of a two-year policing foundation degree course at Coleg Llandrillo in Rhos on Sea.

Mr Jones, who is a former police inspector, said: “In North Wales we have been working with the perpetrators of domestic violence.

“It’s all very well taking someone away from a violent relationship but then if the perpetrator isn’t treated or dissuaded from what he’s been doing he just forms a partnership with someone else and the violence will continue, so it’s important to address their behaviour.

“Quite a bit of work on this is being done in Wrexham and Flintshire but there’s not much being done anywhere else.

“I’d like to see the setting up of a permanent perpetrator programme right across North Wales so that every perpetrator has access to it.”

Mr Jones told the eight students, who came from across North Wales, they are also working in partnership with other agencies and one of the things his own office had been examining was the IRIS project.

IRIS – Identification and Referral to Improve Safety – is a general practice-based domestic violence and abuse training support and referral programme.

It carried out a pilot study, Preventing Domestic Violence and Abuse, to measure the prevalence of domestic violence among women going to see their GP in Hackney, London.

The results showed a high rate of domestic violence experienced by women attending doctors’ surgeries was substantially higher than that recorded in the general population.

The study concluded that health care professionals should maintain a high level of awareness of the possibility of violence amongst their patients.

He added: “Our aim is to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and the reason why this is so important is that every week there are two people killed in England and Wales, either partners or ex-partners.

“It’s not just about the emotional cost to families and children but also the massive financial cost of  domestic violence cases to the various agencies dealing with them, so to me it’s a no brainer to put resources into this area.”

Mr Jones also revealed that another of the election pledges he had delivered on had paid dividends when it came to dealing with aftermath of domestic violence.

He said: “One of my main manifesto promises was to see all police officers in North Wales issued with body-warn video cameras to record evidence and that has now been done.

“It’s a case of getting the best evidence, especially with domestic violence incidents.

“When a police officer goes to see them the victim or survivor may be happy to co-operate with them but later there is a tendency to withdraw their evidence because of various circumstances, and that is perfectly understandable.

“But if we are able to record the evidence, such as injuries or damage to the house, it helps to support a prosecution as it’s incontrovertible.

“The Crown Prosecution Service are very pleased with the evidence they are getting in this way from body-worn cameras.”

Mr Jones said that other key issues for him when he became PCC were dealing with sexual violence, online abuse, drugs and people trafficking and having regular meetings with the third or voluntary sector which was often at the front line of dealing with all these problems.

Also important was keeping in touch with the public of North Wales which, he explained, means him speaking regularly to various groups.

He spoke about the wide-ranging public consultation exercises he has been carrying out on the preparation of his first Policing and Crime Plan, which sets out the priorities for the PCC over the next year.

The PCC answered a wide range of questions from the students covering issues including the budgets for North Wales Police and his own office, which he said were around £143 million and £800,000 respectively, his engagement with communities and public expectations of policing.

In answer to a question about the use of drones by the police, Mr Jones said he thought they could be particularly useful in searches for people missing from home and watching for illegal off-roading.

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