Record number of domestic abuse arrests in Kent

Kent Police arrested a record number of people for domestic abuse last year, new data has revealed.

Officers made more than 14,000 arrests between April 2016 and 2017 compared to 8,500 over the same period the previous year.

According to a top police officer, the force is taking more people into custody than ever before because of changes in perceptions of who commits domestic violence.

Latest figures from the office of national statistics show for every three victims of domestic abuse, two are female and one is male.

Police strategy has also changed to include same-sex relationships and those who have been abused by their carer.

However out of the 12,883 arrests only 2,797 domestic abuse cases were sent to court in 2016 to 2017.

Of these, 75% ended in a conviction.

Speaking at Kent County Council’s scrutiny committee on Wednesday, Det Ch Supt Tom Richards said: “Never in the history of Kent Police have we arrested or charged as many people for domestic abuse as we are doing at the moment.

“I am proud of where we have got to despite all of the organisations and our partners having reduced budgets and headcount.

“It’s been our huge focus but we are certainly not resting on our laurels.

“Our analysis has been a key part of that.

“The research shows the profile of domestic abuse has changed dramatically over a large number of years and the perception that domestic abuse is only committed on women by men is no longer the case.”

Kent Police has also changed its strategy to include victims of coercive control as well as physical violence.

Det Ch Supt Richards added: “Domestic abuse is a complex and abhorrent crime with no easy solutions and we train officers to carefully listen to victims, understand what is going on and look for signs of coercion or control.

“We actively encourage people to report domestic abuse offences and have seen increases in victims coming forward and as a result we have seen higher levels of prosecutions and arrests overall.”

The force works alongside councils, the fire and rescue service, ambulance across the county to reduce domestic violence through the Kent and Medway Community Safety Partnership.