THE police may serve written notices to people who assault their spouses as a last warning before bringing formal charges if the violence continues, it has been revealed. Superintendent Patricia Walsh, who leads a police working group on domestic violence and child abuse, said victims could use the notice to warn their partners to help stop violence escalating. She said the initiative might also help provide clearer guidelines to front-line officers in domestic violence cases. The Legal Aid Department has welcomed the move, saying it may serve as proof that victims can use to obtain a court injunction against their partners. The department will start to provide walk-in services to battered spouses from today. Victims will be able to meet counsel without making an appointment. If their cases are proved to be genuinely urgent, they can go to court immediately to obtain an injunction order. Superintendent Walsh said the Domestic Violence Incidence Notice would record the victim's allegation and it would be issued by police when they attend a call. When giving out the notice, officers can also draw the husband's attention to the Crime Ordinance and the Offence Against Persons Ordinance, which could be used to charge him if the violence continued. The notice will only be issued with the victims' consent. ''The notice may endanger the victims since their husbands could be angered by the notice and beat them up after the police leave,'' Superintendent Walsh explained. ''Our police officers will only issue the notice when the victims think that the notice will help them.'' The victims will have to sign the notice and will keep the tear-off portion. Superintendent Walsh said the battered wives could use the tear-off portion to remind their husbands that the police knew about their behaviour. The same measure will also protect battered husbands. Figures show that of the 186 domestic violence cases last year, 31 of them were men. The same number of men were beaten by their wives in 1991 among a total of 174 domestic violence cases. Superintendent Walsh said many police officers did not like to deal with domestic violence since it was hard for them to enforce the law. ''What do you do when most women do not want you to arrest their husbands since they are financially dependent on them?. ''Our hands are tied and we can do nothing in such circumstances,'' she said. She added that the notice would make it easier for police officers since they would have an alternative to arrest. Superintendent Walsh said the deterrent effect of the notice would be particularly good on those who just began abusing their spouse than on those who had battered their wives for a long time. The initiative, yet to be approved by the Commissioner of Police, is expected to start in two months' time for a six-month trial period.