A new report has found the PSNI is failing to tackle rising levels of domestic violence and abuse.
The Criminal Justice Inspectorate said the detection rates had dropped even though there had been a 10% increase in the number of domestic abuse cases reported.
The report found fewer offenders were being brought before the courts.
The PSNI said it recognised that more work needed to be done in the area of domestic violence and abuse.
It said it was fully committed to implementing the recommendations of an earlier report carried out in 2010.
CJI chief inspector Brendan McGuigan said: "More needs to be done to get back on track."
There were just over 27,000 incidents of domestic abuse in the past year - the equivalent to around three attacks every hour - and about a third (35%) of those responsible were caught.
There were 25,196 recorded domestic abuse cases the previous year, when the detection rate stood at 41%.
Victims include heterosexual men and women, as well as those in same-sex relationships.
In light of the limited progress made against the 2010 recommendations, the CJI is to carry out a full inspection on how the police handle domestic violence in 2015.
Mr McGuigan noted in his new report: "We acknowledge that this is a difficult and complex problem and there are no quick fix answers.
"However, I am convinced that with greater effort and focus from the criminal justice agencies, the unacceptable rises in this type of crime and fall in the detection of perpetrators can be reversed."
The chief inspector also said he hoped the findings would not discourage victims of domestic violence from coming forward to report crimes.