Police officers tend to be wary of becoming involved in marital disputes. They are wary because of the social taboos surrounding violence in the home, because they fear one or both of the parties will turn on them, because they believe that the wife is very likely to withdraw her support for prosecution against her husband and because, too many of them, it does not seem like "proper" police work. Victims of marital violence are usually dissatisfied with the service they receive from the police. They perceive a pattern of discretion, meaning inaction, by the police, even with regard to serious physical injuries. They tend to feel a sense of injustice and resigned hopelessness. Alan Bourlet, a practising police officer, draws on the experiences and opinions of both police colleagues and the victims of marital violence. He traces how police policy and practice with regard to domestic violence have been shaped historically, and explores how they can both be improved to ensure more confident and effective handling of cases and a better deal for victims.