Misconduct case for two Derbyshire police officers over rape investigation

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The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has found cases to answer for misconduct for two police officers following an investigation into the contact between Derbyshire Constabulary and a victim of rape.

The IPCC has also made a number of recommendations to the force.

In July 2014 a woman repeatedly reported threatening behaviour and a breach of bail conditions by Craig Hutsby. She was raped by Hutsby in August 2014 and he was jailed in February 2015.

The IPCC investigation has found PC Sofi Essex has a case to answer for misconduct for not creating an ‘arrest package’ – a required document, completed before arrest attempts can begin – when asked, on two separate occasions, by two police sergeants. Although eventually completed, the delay resulted in no action being taken to locate and arrest Craig Hutsby prior to the rape being committed.

PC Joseph Lovelock, on the evidence found, has a case answer for misconduct for failing to properly complete a Domestic Abuse Stalking and Harassment (DASH) form for the victim. This meant she was not identified as being at high risk of harm and appropriate measures to manage that risk could not be made.

The investigation also highlights unsatisfactory performance by two Derbyshire Constabulary call handlers, who did not properly communicate Hutsby’s current bail conditions to officers investigating the victim’s initial reports.

The investigator has made a number of recommendations to the force, notably;

• Review how DASH forms are completed, ensure they are completed thoroughly, reassess how they are reviewed, and address any backlog.

• Ensure officers fully understand all forms of domestic abuse, including what options are available to them, to safeguard a victim.

A quick-time learning recommendation to improve training for control centre staff, to fully understand bail conditions, was addressed by the force in February 2015.

IPCC Commissioner, Derrick Campbell, said: “This investigation has highlighted failings by Derbyshire Constabulary to protect a vulnerable woman who went on tragically to become a victim of rape. It appears the action or inaction of some individuals had a significant impact on how the reports of threatening behaviour, in this case, were dealt with by officers.

“It is evidence, if needed, of the importance of completing relevant documentation to ensure every available safeguard is put into place for people who have been, or are, at risk.”

The final report is available via the IPCC website:

https://cms.www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/case-answer-misconduct-two-derbyshire-constabulary-officers-after-investigation-their-contact