POLICE and partners working together to reduce domestic abuse in the West Mercia force area will soon have new powers to help protect people from the problem.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme - also known as Clare’s Law - is being launched in West Mercia next Monday.

The scheme gives people the "right to ask" police whether a new or existing partner has a violent past. If records show that an individual might be at risk of domestic violence from a partner, the police will consider disclosing the information. A disclosure can be made if it is legal, proportionate and necessary to do so.

For example, a mother or father could make an application on behalf of their daughter or son if they are concerned a new partner might be violent. If it meets the criteria, information will be disclosed directly to the daughter or son concerned or to a third person for the purposes of protecting the son or daughter from domestic abuse.

The police can also use the "right to know" to proactively disclose information to an individual to protect a potential victim of domestic abuse. That enables an agency to apply for a disclosure if the agency believes that an individual is at risk of domestic violence from their partner.

Det Supt Steve Cullen said: “Tackling domestic abuse is a clear priority for police and partners. Clare's Law will allow victims to apply to us to understand what their partners past history may be and, where it is appropriate to do so, we will disclose information in order that victims may make an informed decision around their own safety.

“Any disclosure will be part of a range of support measures Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police will put in place to support victims.

"We welcome the strengthening of the legislation to help us protect the most vulnerable from harm."

Anyone concerned about whether a new or existing partner has a violent past can visit the front desk of their nearest police station, ring 101 in the first instance or speak to a police officer. Information about the scheme will also be available online.

The applicant would need to provide relevant information and checks would be done to confirm their identity.

If anyone believes there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, they should always call 999.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Bill Longmore said: “Domestic violence is one of our priorities and it is important that victims of domestic abuse are afforded protection and that any risks of harm are effectively dealt with.

"We hope these new powers will give people more confidence to seek help when they suffer any domestic abuse."