Could sloppy call-handling aid or hinder your story?

Posted: October 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,
Independent Police Complaints Commission

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The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into how Gloucestershire Constabulary dealt with two 999 calls about a man attacking a female found that individual mistakes led to a delayed police response.

At 5.47pm on Saturday 16 October 2010, an ex-police officer contacted Gloucestershire Constabulary’s control room to report that he had seen a male attacking a woman in a vehicle.

The vehicle had left the scene and the member of the public did not have a registration number for it, but he was sufficiently concerned to state that he was going to drive around the area to see if he could find it. This call was graded by the control room as a priority two response, requiring a response within four hours.

At 6.01pm the witness called a second time to report that he had seen the vehicle again and that the female was still in it. He gave the registration number of the vehicle, its location and direction of travel.

A computer check was conducted by the control room and keeper details noted on the log. There was intelligence indicating that the vehicle had been seen in suspicious circumstances, apparently following a group of young girls in June 2010. This intelligence report was not viewed and the incident was therefore not re-graded.

At 8.19pm the same evening, a 999 call was made to the police reporting that a 13-year-old girl had been kidnapped by a man in a white car and seriously sexually assaulted. It was later confirmed that this was the same vehicle and driver that had been reported in the two earlier 999 calls.

Colin Riddall was subsequently convicted for these offences.

IPCC Commissioner Rebecca Marsh said: “I hope that this young girl has begun to recover from the terrifying and wicked ordeal which Riddall subjected her to. We have shared our findings with her family and hope they are reassured by this.

“We will never know whether a much earlier response to the first 999 call would have been able to partially prevent this assault. But it is clear that the errors in the initial grading of the first call meant that this incident did not receive the appropriate response and led to it being viewed with a misguided lack of urgency by those who subsequently dealt with it.

“The IPCC investigation found that there were a number of procedural and performance-related failures, some of which were compounded by general confusion and a lack of compliance with call-handling policy.

“I have been heartened by the detailed response from Gloucestershire Constabulary to the IPCC recommendations. This included a two-week period in August where calls to the force control room were monitored and the risk assessments made by staff were checked.

“Public confidence in how the police deal with emergency calls is vitally important and I have arranged for our learning report and the force’s formal response to be published on our website.”

During the course of the IPCC investigation, a complaint was made that Gloucestershire Constabulary failed to respond to two emergency calls reporting the assault of a child.

The two 999 calls from the member of the public were not dealt with efficiently and resources were not deployed to the incident, so this aspect of the complaint was upheld.

However, as neither of the two 999 calls made reference to the fact that the victim was a child, the control room staff were clearly unaware of her age and vulnerability and this aspect of the complaint was not upheld.

Two inspectors, one sergeant and five control room staff were subject to performance advice for their individual inaction in handling the initial 999 call.

Courtesy of the IPCC 13/10/11.

Is this how your suspect evades arrest in the first instance?  Is this what frustrates the lead investigator in this case?


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