Notts Police to pilot ‘Clare’s Law’ scheme to prevent domestic abuse

NOTTS Police will be one of the first forces in the country to pilot a scheme giving people the right to know about a partner’s violent past.

Monday, 5th March 2012, 10:49 am

The force will adopt the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as ‘Clare’s Law’, allowing people to find out if their partner has previous convictions for domestic violence or other violent acts.

The pilot scheme will be launched this summer.

Supt Helen Chamberlain, head of the force’s Public Protection Department, said tackling domestic abuse is one of the force’s top priorities.

“It’s crucial that the force is at the forefront of any developments in tackling domestic violence and I was keen from the outset that we would be one of the first to test Clare’s Law,” she said.

“Being on the cutting edge of new developments in policing allows us to influence and help shape the process and have an input into how to best protect vulnerable people.”

“A police force’s primary job is to preserve life and keep people safe, and arming people with the information to protect themselves is one of many tactics we will use to do just that.”

Three other forces - Gwent, Greater Manchester and Wiltshire - will also take part in the trial, which will last a year.

Campaigners lobbied the Government to implement the scheme following the murder of 36-year-old Salford mum Clare Wood, who was murdered by her estranged partner in 2009.

She suffered months of sexual abuse and death threats before being strangled by George Appleton, who had a history of violence against women.

There have also been a number of tragic deaths in Notts over the last few years that were the result of domestic violence.

This includes 21-year-old Casey Brittle, who was beaten to death by her partner in front of her two-year-old daughter in New Basford in 2010.

Helen Waplington was murdered by her partner in Forest Fields in 2008, while Denise Skilbeck was killed by her partner in Newark in March 2011.

Supt Chamberlain said: “The force has received justified criticism about how it has dealt with domestic abuse in the past.

“We are absolutely determined not to make the same mistakes again and we are committed to using every tactic available to us to protect anyone in an abusive relationship.”

“There may be many people out there who are unaware that their new partner has a violent past.”

She added: “A violent or abusive person might wait months or even years to show their true colours, and by the time it happens the victim is often too frightened to speak out.”

“The scheme will empower the police and potential victims to take early action in preventing violence.”