The Police Service of Northern Ireland welcomes the publication of the Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJINI) report on the effectiveness of part one of the Domestic Abuse and Civil Proceedings Act (NI) 2021.

The report found areas of good practice and recognition was given to the effort of the Police Service to date in training their officers and staff to better recognise and respond to this crime type. It also makes a number of recommendations about further strengthening police and prosecution case management arrangements and information sharing to ultimately provide a greater and timelier support to victims.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lindsay Fisher of the Service’s Public Protection Branch said: “Much work has been undertaken already to address the societal issue of domestic abuse and this report has outlined our progress whilst also setting out a series of recommendations, all of which we accept as a Police Service. Anything we can do to better safeguard victims and children who are impacted by this terrible crime type, we will.

“The report recognises the ‘comprehensive’ online training package that we developed to enhance our officers and staff knowledge of this complex crime type in order to achieve ‘timely and effective’ investigations. To date, thousands have undertaken this training and because of this it was noted how incident calls were being appropriately graded and the right systems and assessment tools utilised.

“We have since been focusing on fine tuning our response and ensuring we are making the most of all investigatory avenues available to us to get the best possible criminal justice outcomes.

“We have already further enhanced our training package and provided opportunities for frontline officers to hear directly from victims to better their understanding of the lived experience. We want to ensure that the voice of the victim and child are not lost and so in person district and Public Protection Branch training is also being delivered to ensure we maximise on every opportunity to use child aggravators and gather evidence.

“Information sharing with our partners is crucial and we will work as per the recommendations to streamline this so that opportunities to safeguard or learn/make improvements are not missed.

“Work has already commenced to look at the recommendations and we will seek to address all of them within the timescales.”