26 September 2023

Audit finds police doubled down on family violence

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A performance audit into the NSW Police Force’s responses to domestic and family violence events has found it has almost doubled its domestic violence specialist workforce in the past five years.

In her Report Police responses to domestic and family violence, Auditor-General Margaret Crawford said the NSW Police Force was also conducting higher levels of risk monitoring to check that frontline police complied with domestic and family violence policing procedures.

“However, a lack of workload monitoring at a whole-of-Agency level is limiting the ability of the NSW Police Force to assess whether specialist and frontline police are sufficient to manage domestic and family violence demands across all 57 local commands,” Ms Crawford said.

“Rates of compliance checking of domestic violence events vary across local commands and there is a lack of system level policy or oversight to guide this activity,” she said.

“While the NSW Police Force has structured training for probationary constables on domestic and family violence policing practices, it does not monitor training or skill levels of the broader workforce to understand levels of expertise in domestic violence policing.”

Ms Crawford said the NSW Police Force did not have regular or consistent methods for seeking feedback and it had a limited understanding of its service quality from the perspective of victim survivors of domestic and family violence.

She said performance reporting on domestic and family violence was limited, with most measures focused on activity counts rather than service quality or outcomes.

The Auditor-General made eight recommendations to improve workforce and workload data collections; structure and resource the domestic and family violence strategic policy function; develop a framework to guide police training in domestic and family violence; conduct an expert review of the debriefing protocols and procedures; commence work on the domestic and family violence component of the Integrated Policing Operational System (IPOS); design a procedure to collect, collate, and analyse service user and stakeholder feedback; review the existing activity measures and targets; and review the process for investigating allegations of domestic and family violence against current and former serving police personnel.

The Auditor-General’s 50-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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