A duty to protect: Police use of protective measures in cases involving violence against women and girls

Published on: 24 August 2021

Publication types: Super-complaint

On 19 March 2019, the Centre for Women’s Justice made a super-complaint to HMICFRS. 

This super-complaint is about the police’s alleged failure to use protective measures to safeguard women and girls.  It sets out concerns about four tools the police can use/are involved in: 

  • Pre-charge bail 
  • Non-Molestation Orders 
  • Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders 
  • Restraining Orders 

The CWJ is concerned the police aren’t using these tools enough and in the right way. 

What is a super-complaint? 

A super-complaint is a complaint that “a feature, or combination of features, of policing in England and Wales by one or more than one police force is, or appears to be, harming the interests of the public” (section 29A, Police Reform Act 2002). 

The system aims to examine problems of local, regional or national significance that may not be addressed by existing complaints systems. The process for making and considering a super-complaint is outlined in the Police Super-complaints Regulations 2018. 

Super-complaints provide a voice for designated bodies to raise concerns on behalf of the public. They can include patterns or trends in policing that are, or appear to be, harming the interests of the public. 

College of Policing and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) are responsible for assessing, investigating and reporting on police super-complaints. We have collaborated on the investigation and on drawing conclusions. 

Read the report on GOV.UK 

A duty to protect: Police use of protective measures in cases involving violence against women and girls

Get the press release 

Police should change approach to using protective measures to safeguard women and girls

More information

A duty to protect: Police use of protective measures in cases involving violence against women and girls

Find out more about super-complaints

Police super-complaints