Police forces have been slow to engage with coercive control laws, new figures suggest.
Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act came into force at the end of 2015. It defined “controlling or coercive behaviour’ as a form of domestic violence. To count, it must have taken place within an “intimate or family relationship” over an extended period of time and have had a “serious effect” on the victim.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism made Freedom of Information requests to 43 police forces across the country. Just eight of the 43 forces reported having introduced a nationally available training programme on the controversial offence, and as a result the number of prosecutions remains low: a total of 532 across 29 of the forces who responded. Six of the forces who responded have brought five or fewer prosecutions, The Guardian reports.
Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd first proposed the criminalisation of coercive control in 2014. Speaking to the paper, he expressed his disappointment at the levels of police engagement and called on the government to intervene.
“The poor take-up of training amongst the Welsh and English police forces is reflected in the low number of prosecutions. The Westminster government must now ensure that training is made mandatory and funded centrally.”