Police must learn lessons from Clare Wood case
Added March 11th, 2010 in NSS News
Network for Surviving Stalking urges Chief Police Officers in all force areas to promote the use of ACPO* guidelines on investigating stalking and harassment. The call follows today’s Independent Police Complaints Commission report on the way Greater Manchester Police dealt with Clare Wood prior to her murder.
Clare was murdered by George Appleton in February 2009. He was found hanged in a derelict pub a few days later. In the months before her murder Clare had contacted Greater Manchester Police alleging Appleton had caused criminal damage, harassed her, threatened to kill her and sexually assaulted her. The IPCC found individual and systemic failures by Greater Manchester Police and “in some cases a shocking lack of understanding about the nature of domestic violence.”
Some of the failures highlighted in the report include:
- Officers taking 24 hours to respond to a 999 call that Clare made, in which she said she was frightened because George Appleton was banging on her door.
- An investigating officer taking 4 months to submit a file about criminal damage and harassment to the CPS.
- When the file was submitted to the CPS about harassment and criminal damage, subsequent new allegations of sexual assault and an alleged breach of bail weren’t included
- Appleton was told by a police call handler that Clare had made a complaint about him
To see the full report visit http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/clare_wood_report_final_10_march.pdf
The IPCC links the systemic failures in Clare’s case to those in the Katie Boardman investigation (see NSS news archive). Commissioner Naseem Malik says “It is clear to me that during the time covering the deaths of Clare Wood and Katie Boardman that Greater Manchester police’s response to domestic violence related incidents was not as good as it should have been.” He adds “Mistakes have been made in the past but I am confident the appropriate changes have now been made.”
Network for Surviving Stalking believes it’s vital that all police officers and staff dealing with stalking complaints have an understanding of the crime; of the risks posed by offenders and how victims are affected. We urge all Chief Officers in all force areas to ensure their officers use the ACPO guidelines on Investigating Stalking and Harassment. This is the ‘gold standard’ and we believe it’s what all stalking victims deserve. Anyone making a complaint about stalking should inspect our Victim’s Version of the ACPO guidelines at http://www.nss.org.uk/the-law-against-stalking-in-england-wales/police/ We also welcome further opportunities to assist the UK police force with ways it can improve the service it offers to stalking victims.
- If you would like to interview someone from NSS please call Jane on 07970 792986
*Association of Chief Police Officers. Check out their Guidance for officers
on Investigating Stalking and Harassment at http://www.acpo.police.uk/policies.asp