Press Release from West Mercia Police:

“I didn’t feel safe. In fact, I was terrified. I carried on walking – I had no choice – but I picked up the pace and clutched my keys in my fist. It was a horrid experience, but by no means an unusual one.”

Many women and girls will be able to relate to the feelings described above by a woman walking home and feeling scared and unsafe.  The safety of everyone across West Mercia is our priority but some crimes disproportionately affect women and girls, manifest themselves in different ways and demand targeted solutions.

Crimes such as rape, female genital mutilation, stalking, harassment, coercive control and newer offences such as cyber-flashing, ‘revenge porn’ and ‘up-skirting’ are too common. They are indicative of appalling attitudes and prejudice towards women and girls.  Progress has been made in tackling these crimes and the attitudes that underpin them, but the fact remains that they are far too prevalent and there are too many instances of victims and survivors being let down.

In 2021 the landmark Domestic Abuse Act was passed to improve the response to domestic abuse at every level, strengthening protection for victims whilst ensuring perpetrators feel the full force of the law.

We prioritise domestic abuse, serious sexual offences, stalking and harassment with the aim of bringing offenders to justice and ensuring the right support for victims. Our focus is on tackling those who pose a risk to women and girls and to make West Mercia a safer place to be female. We want to provide an outstanding and compassionate service when women and girls are subjected to crime.

We are making robust use of protective orders and providing improved scrutiny of domestic abuse investigations. We want women and girls to look forward with confidence, not over their shoulders with fear. 

We are working with our local partners to ensure we share information to help reduce risk, prevent offending, and recognise and address hidden vulnerabilities.

Supported by John Campion, Police and Crime Commissioner, our work has also included making improvements to CCTV and street lighting (thanks to information gathered by online Street Safe reporting and funding from the Government’s Safer Streets initiative). 

We are also committed to working with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Home Office and other UK forces to ensure a clear and coherent approach across policing nationally.

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Cooper said:

“We want women and girls to feel confident to report incidents of any kind where they are victims.  This includes non-recent incidents of sexual abuse.  I can assure you that you will be listened to and your case conducted with care and compassion.  I recognise the damage to public trust and confidence in policing and we are committed to rebuilding this and showing, beyond doubt, that you can put your trust in us, your local police service.” 

There are various ways to report domestic abuse, as well as the crimes described above such as stalking and harassment.

  • If you are in immediate danger or you witness a violent incident please call 999.
  • You can report abuse online, including non-recent sexual abuse, via our website on our Reporting pages
  • If you are worried about reporting yourself, you can ask a friend or family member to report on your behalf.
  • If you feel able to, you can visit your local police station and speak to an officer.
  • You may feel that in the first instance contacting a support organisation such as a the West Mercia Rape Crisis Centre or the West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Centr rather than the police is preferable.  These organisations are experts in helping victims. They will support and guide you on your next steps.