Crimes linked to ‘domestics’ in South Yorkshire rocketed by a third last year.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said he was ‘concerned’ at the rise in crimes recorded by officers responding to domestic incidents, with 1,861 more offences recorded last year than the year before.
He has disclosed the figure in his new ‘police and crime plan,’ which sets out his priorities for South Yorkshire Police for the next two years.
Dr Billings said he wants victims of domestic abuse to have confidence that officers will investigate offences.
“In South Yorkshire, over the past year, domestic incidents which resulted in a crime being recorded, were up by 33 per cent - 1,861 offences,” he said.
“Nationally, around 1.2 million women suffered domestic abuse. Over 400,000 of these women were sexually assaulted, 70,000 women were raped, and thousands more stalked.
“These are alarming figures and we need people in South Yorkshire to know that if they report incidents they will be taken seriously.”
His plan lists ‘tackling vulnerable people’ as a priority for South Yorkshire Police and says that the force needs to work with other agencies to identify those at risk before it is too late.
It states: “Protecting the public is one of the most important aspects of policing. The police have a duty to safeguard those who are less able to protect themselves.
“Vulnerable people are potentially more at risk of becoming a victim of crime, so police and partners must consider all areas of vulnerability when committing their resources.”
He said officers ‘will be expected to work in partnership with other agencies to protect people before crimes are committed’.
“Prevention is always better than cure,” he added.
Speaking to The Star, Dr Billings said people are now more willing to come forward and report incidents, particularly women from minority ethnic communities.
He also said police officers were also more willing to deal with domestics.
“I’m concerned about the increase, particularly where the domestic incidents are domestic violence,” he said.
“There is an increased willingness of people to come forward - they realise they are more likely to be believed.
“Some minority ethnic communities are more willing to accept that there is domestic violence withing their communities - women are more willing to report it and men are more willing to acknowledge it.
“In the past the attitude of the police was ‘oh, it’s a domestic, therefore we must not get involved,’ whereas now they realise they must get involved.”
Superintendent Natalie Shaw, South Yorkshire Police’s lead officer on domestic abuse, said: “Domestic abuse can and does happen to anyone, regardless of their background and social standing. “Nationally, one incident of domestic abuse is reported to police every minute, which is an alarming statistic and one we must do all we can to reduce.
“It takes immense courage to report an incident of domestic abuse, therefore an increased number of reports demonstrates the bravery of those victims who are coming forward and reporting their ordeals to police.
“We will continue to work alongside our partner agencies to provide a supportive and sensitive service that safeguards victims from further harm.”