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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 01:02 GMT
Police to punish violent officers
Domestic violence victim (posed)
US research suggests more violence in police families
Police officers found guilty of domestic violence will be sacked under a tough new policy being considered by all 43 forces in England and Wales.

BBC News has also learned that if there is evidence that an officer is abusing a partner he or she will be immediately suspended from duty.

Police hope to show that by tackling the problem in their own ranks they are taking domestic violence seriously.

They say it will be treated in the same way as other offences, like corruption.

Automatically suspended

Under the plans, police officers will be encouraged to report colleagues they suspect of domestic violence.

No research into the extent of the problem has been carried out in the UK.

But figures from the United States suggest that there is a significantly higher incidence of domestic violence within police families than in the general population.

Any complaint made against an officer must be supervised by someone of chief officer rank.

If there is evidence of domestic violence, the officer should be automatically suspended.

If convicted the presumption in every force should be that the officer will be sacked.

'Stay away'

The police initiative follows moves to tighten up the laws against offenders in last week's Queen's speech.

Those suspected of the crime will face new court orders keeping them away from their partner under planned laws.

The "stay away" orders will come into force whether somebody is found guilty or acquitted of violent crimes.

Together with Comic Relief, Refuge and Women's Aid Federation of England, the government is also launching a 24-hour freephone domestic violence helpline before Christmas.

Domestic violence accounts for a quarter of all murders in Britain.


SEE ALSO:
Domestic abusers face crackdown
03 Dec 03  |  Politics
Views on the domestic violence bill
02 Dec 03  |  Politics
Attacks on women 'biggest issue'
26 Nov 03  |  In Depth
Domestic abuse link to self harm
03 Sep 03  |  Health


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