Risks and inconsistencies have been found in the way West Yorkshire Police tackle domestic abuse.
The concerns are raised today in a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
The watchdog said tackling domestic abuse was a priority for the force and it worked well with partners – but there were a number of inconsistencies.
But a Bradford charity working with domestic-abuse victims was quick to defend the force last night and West Yorkshire Police said it was pleased it highlighted much of its good work.
The HMIC was commissioned to inspect all 43 police forces by the Home Secretary last September. It says nationally the overall police response to victims of domestic abuse is not good enough.
HM Inspector for the Northern Region Roger Baker said: “Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for the West Yorkshire force and they work well with partners.
"However, HMIC were concerned there are a number of inconsistencies in the processes and across the force area, which means the police cannot be confident that risks to victims of domestic abuse are effectively assessed and measures put in place to maintain their future safety in all cases.”
It found that call handlers had received little training on understanding and dealing with domestic abuse and most frontline staff could not recall much, if any, training about domestic abuse.
The report also says the force cannot be confident that risks to victims of domestic abuse are assessed effectively and measures put in place to help keep them safe.
The manager of Bradford Women’s Aid, Sally Deane, said the organisation had an “excellent” relationship with police but welcomed calls for further training for front-line staff.
She said: “Bradford police work very well in partnership with Bradford Women’s Aid and other domestic-violence organisations, providing assistance to women who have been victims of domestic abuse but there are areas that have been highlighted for improvement which will make this work much more effective, help to save women’s lives and safeguard women and children in Bradford.”
West Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Dodd said: “We really welcome this considered and balanced report.
"Tackling the issue is a key element of the Police and Crime Plan and we are grateful for the independent scrutiny brought to this critical area.
“The report properly identifies a number of significant strengths in our response to domestic abuse and we are delighted these have been highlighted.
“However, we recognise there is more that we can do to deal with this blight.”
Mark Burns Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, urged victims to contact police.
He said: “I have been working to explore new ways to better tackle domestic abuse. That’s one reason why I have made an additional £1million available for closer working on domestic abuse and violence with partners over the next two years.”