VICTIMS of domestic violence in Gloucestershire are being let down by the police according to a new report.

Following a review of how all 43 police forces across the UK handle domestic violence cases, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) has said it has “significant concerns” over the way Gloucestershire Police handles such cases.

Dru Sharpling, HMIC for Wales and the West, said: “There are weaknesses in the way the constabulary deals with domestic abuse at the first point of contact and in the ability of the constabulary to consistently provide an effective response to safeguarding victims.”

She also said that “swift action” was required on behalf of the police in order to address the key issues raised in the report.

It said that, while domestic abuse victims received good support from Gloucestershire’s Public Protection Bureau, the treatment victims received from the police was “disjointed and inconsistent”.

Figures obtained by the HMIC show that within the county domestic abuse accounts for three per cent of all calls made to the police and that nearly half of these calls were from repeat victims.

The data also showed that six per cent of all the crime recorded in Gloucestershire involves some form of domestic abuse.

Richard Berry, Assistant Chief Constable with Gloucestershire Police, said that the new report is a snapshot of the force and does not reflect changes already implemented.

“Work has been underway for many months into how we deal with domestic abuse, including reviewing the frontline service we offer to victims.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to reassure the public that we are committed to keeping people in Gloucestershire safe from harm.”

Gloucestershire Police was one of four police forces that were specifically criticised by the report, the others being Greater Manchester, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

HMIC found that police over the border in Wiltshire were providing “effective” work for victims but that there was still areas that needed to be looked at before “they can have confidence that they are providing a consistently good service to victims”.