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A refreshed national policing approach to tackling violence against women and girls: NPCC’s new VAWG strategic framework 2024

Consultancy Perspective


Samantha Cunningham, Executive Director (Strategy) | Callyane Desroches, Head of Policy and Strategy

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Crest Advisory has been working alongside the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) to develop a enhanced policing approach to enable a better and more consistent response to violence against women and girls (VAWG) from police forces across England and Wales. The purpose is to address the level of threat now posed to policing from the sheer demand and severity as recognised by the 2023 Strategic Threat Assessment (STRA 2023). 

The NPCC is committed to building on its existing VAWG delivery framework (2021) and this new approach is modelled on the tried and tested 4 P’s policing approach, which has been well established in addressing commensurate threats such as counter terrorism, child sexual abuse and modern slavery. 

The refreshed framework is being published by the NPCC today.

Our Executive Director Samantha Cunningham, and Head of Policy and Strategy Callyane Desroches, summarise the overall approach and the opportunities it presents. 

We think that this framework is remarkable because it articulates a number of critical factors that policing needs to embed to better address VAWG:

For a start, it recognises that a change in police culture and standards is needed to ensure that their staff are fit to serve. It explicitly states that all forces need to continuously prepare themselves to better respond. In particular, it outlines the need for police to cultivate the right skills and understanding of the gendered dynamics at play.


It also  promotes the important balance of better meeting the needs of victims and pursuing perpetrators. It is focused on ensuring that this is at all stages evidence led. It prioritises the expressed need of protecting victims and affected communities. 

Significantly, it is integrated with the wider evidence and solutions proposed within the Operation Soteria National Operating Model - with specific regard to broadening the application of context-led and suspect-focused investigations (including evidence-led prosecutions) where appropriate to all VAWG offences.  

By clearly stating the ambition and remit of policing to tackle VAWG, this framework should enable a broader conversation around partnership working. This supports the development of an effective public health approach to prevent and address VAWG. In taking this approach, policing has, importantly, noted its role within prevention and recognised that its statutory partners should play a lead role within primary prevention. 

However, for the full potential of this policing framework to be realised, we suggest policing and its external partners should make a number of further changes. 

It is evident that the NPCC requires the right resources to ensure that this framework is understood, prioritised and implemented by forces. This will enable NPCC to align better to the College of Policing (CoP) and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to ensure that the requirements within this framework for police are built into longer term training, resourcing requirements and inspection regimes.

The full benefits of this framework will only be realised by a similar strategic and consistent approach being taken by statutory partners such as Education, Health, Local Authorities and Probation. Therefore, government needs to lead and enable a wider partnership response to VAWG through the development of a strategic partnership across government departments, executive agencies and non ministerial departments  (i.e. National Probation Service, CPS and HMCTS). This partnership should take responsibility to coordinate national funding, commissioning and policy arrangements to enable easier  regional collaboration. The Serious Violence Duty offers a potential model that could be further improved and adapted to meet this requirement, as it would also reflect the experiences and current working arrangements at a regional level.   

There is also a need to continue the ongoing conversation between policing and the specialist voluntary and community sector (VCS) at both a national, regional and community level. This should offer an opportunity for the VCS to share specialist knowledge and vital information to keep victims/survivors safe. Furthermore it should create space for the development of promising practice and continuous improvement within policing and across local partnerships. 

We look forward to seeing forces apply this framework, and continue to be supported to enhance their response to VAWG by national bodies. The journey to adopting this framework will present challenges and opportunities for policing but, if well resourced, governed, and implemented, will deliver improvements for the public and victims of VAWG. 

To find out more, get in touch with Samantha Cunningham by emailing


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