Page last updated at 23:39 GMT, Monday, 10 May 2010 00:39 UK

Police 'proactively hunt abusers'

A map showing postcode areas most visited by police
A map showing the postcode areas with most reported incidents of domestic abuse. The Ayrshire postcodes KA1, KA3, KA8, KA12 and KA18 also feature

Every 10 minutes in Scotland, someone calls the police to report domestic abuse.

And with almost half of all 53,000 incidents taking place within the Strathclyde Police area, the country's largest force is at the forefront of the battle against abusers.

In the face of rising abuse rates - last year they increased by 8% - and the stark fact that one in every 13 domestic murders in Britain was recorded in Strathclyde, the force opted for a new approach.

The domestic abuse taskforce is an 18-strong team set up by the force last year to concentrate solely on reducing the murder rate.

So far, statistics point to a success - 11 domestic-related murders have been cut to six within a year and more than 100 arrests have been made for a total of 370 crimes.

Chief Constable Stephen House
Chief Constable House says there has been a shift in police attitudes to abuse

Stephen House, the chief constable of Strathclyde Police, admits there has been a sea change in police attitudes to domestic abuse.

"When I joined the view was - 'let's not cause any grief here'," he said.

"It was easier I think because you didn't have to deal with the consequences, didn't have to deal with the paperwork and you weren't expected to do anything else."

He insisted that attitude has largely gone and that the police now take domestic abuse more seriously than ever.

The force was now taking a proactive approach, he said, going onto the streets to arrest known perpetrators or knocking on doors to warn people before any incidents occur.

"The taskforce have found on a huge number of cases, repeat offenders who won't just repeat the offence against one victim but will move from one victim to another, from one relationship to another," he said.

"Sometimes in different parts of the country but the pattern is the same."

'Prim and proper'

And he pointed out that the issue was one which touched people from all social backgrounds.

"There's nothing quite as prim and proper as the Scottish middle class," he said.

"It doesn't want to admit that it's got domestic abuse.

"We have people getting drunk in the more deprived areas of Glasgow, it's also about people drinking too much red wine in the better off areas."


Hitting Home will be broadcast on BBC One Scotland at 2235 BST on Tuesday 11 May



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