WEST Mercia Police investigated hundreds of coercive control allegations, but ended only nine with a charge or summons, latest figures show.

Home Office data shows that the force recorded 299 allegations of coercive control between April and September 2020.

Separate figures show that West Mercia officers assigned 222 outcomes to closed investigations in that time, just nine of which resulted in someone being charged or summonsed to court.

Legislation was introduced five years ago to tackle the “insidious” form of domestic abuse but the figures show that the majority of allegations do not reach court.

The law is intended to protect victims of ‘extreme psychological and emotional abuse’ but Women’s Aid says it is clear “only a tiny proportion of survivors” see justice.

The new figures show that West Mercia Police dropped 93 per cent of cases due to difficulties gathering evidence.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We have worked closely with the police and prosecutors to ensure the law is used appropriately and since 2015 police recorded offences and prosecutions have increased year on year.

“However, we recognise there is more to do and we continue to work to identify the best ways to ensure the offence is properly understood and applied.”

A review into the law’s effectiveness is currently underway, while the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council acknowledge there is work to be done.

Lucy Hadley from Women’s Aid described the proportion of cases closed due to evidential difficulties as “really concerning” but acknowledged that gathering evidence in such investigations was a known challenge.

She said it was vital that “all judges, prosecutors and police officers truly understand coercive control and are confident in investigating, evidencing and prosecuting this crime.”