POLICE in Cumbria tipped off 130 people about their partner's secret violent past as part of a county-wide crackdown on domestic abuse last year.

Officers used special 'right-to-know' powers to actively inform the residents they were at risk of harm because of previous reports or convictions held by a new boyfriend or girlfriend.

The figure was almost quadruple that of 2015, when the force took steps to warn just 35 people the person they had begun a relationship with had a concerning history.

In addition, the number of applications made to Cumbria Constabulary under Clare's Law - so called 'right-to-ask' legislation - more than doubled in 2016 to 24.

A spokesman for Cumbria police said: "At Cumbria police we take all reports of domestic violence extremely seriously.

"People who report domestic violence will be listened to and, where we are able to detect crimes, we will seek to bring offenders to justice.

"The police have common law powers to disclose information about a person’s known history of violence or abuse, normally relating to previous convictions or charges where there is a pressing need for disclosure of information in order to prevent further crime."

Information revealing the zero-tolerance approach to incidents associated with domestic violence in Cumbria comes just two weeks after a joint investigation between CN Group and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed the issue is on the increase in the county.

It also found violence in the home, which now accounts for 13 per cent of all crimes dealt with by the force, has been responsible for four deaths and hundreds of sexual assaults in the UK since 2008.

Among the legal tools available to the police are domestic violence protection notices, which ban a suspected perpetrator of domestic violence from the victim's home for 48 hours.

DVPOs were issued 75 times in the last three years.

Domestic violence protection orders, which ban someone from an address for up to 28 days, even if the case is not set to be taken to court, have been given out on 60 occasions since 2014.

Similar numbers were issued in the north and south of the county during the period while west Cumbria received the highest in total.

Cumbria's force spokesman added: "The principal aim of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme for the police is to consider the disclosure of information in order to protect a member of the public who may be at risk of harm from domestic violence or abuse.

"The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare’s Law, recognises two procedures for disclosing information.

“Right to ask is triggered by a member of the public applying to the police for a disclosure.

“Right to know is triggered by the police making a proactive decision to disclose information to protect a potential victim."

Clare's Law, or the right-to-ask, came into force in the UK in 2014.

It was named after murder victim Clare Wood, 36, from Manchester, who was killed by her violent ex-boyfriend, George Appleton, in 2009.

Tragically, Ms Wood was unaware that Appleton had a history of domestic abuse.

What is Clare's Law?

Clare's Law came into force in the UK in 2014.

It allows people to ask the police whether their new partner has a history of domestic violence.

The legislation followed the 2009 murder of 36-year-old Clare Wood by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton.

Appleton had a history of threats and violence towards women.

How to apply

First, speak to the police, either to an officer in the street, by dialling 101 or by visiting a police station.

Tell them of your concerns.

An application will then be made and a safe way of contacting you established.

If the background check reveals previous convictions or a history of violence, the police will consider providing you with the information if they believe you are at risk.

Domestic violence in Cumbria - how big is the problem?

A joint investigation by CN Group and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found incidents of domestic violence are rocketing in Cumbria.

The issue now accounts for 13 per cent of all crime in the county.

It also found funding for women's refuges has not increased for eight years.

Nationwide, money spent on emergency accommodation for victims of domestic violence has fallen by 24 per cent in the last decade, despite a surge in the number of crimes reported to police.

When have domestic violence protection orders been used in Cumbria?

• Magistrates in Carlisle issued an order against a 25-year-old man after he threatened to burn down the house of his former girlfriend.

He had featured in 19 domestic violence incidents since 2011.

• A man from Barrow was jailed for 42 days earlier this year for breaching a domestic violence protection order.

The 38-year-old contacted his former partner despite being banned from doing so by the order.

• A man was banned from seeing his girlfriend for two weeks after hitting her over the head with a lager bottle.

The 36-year-old was slapped with a domestic violence protection order following the incident.