A GMP officer who compared a domestic violence call-out to ‘a scene from the Jeremy Kyle Show’ five days before a man was killed has received a written warning for gross misconduct.
Darren Orrett, 32, died after being stabbed in the neck by his ex-girlfriend, Dawn Barr, at her house in Cheadle on November 20 2012.
Just five days before, two officers had visited them at Barr’s home, after she reported Mr Orrett had threatened her, and it was claimed one said ‘I don’t get paid for this shit.’
Through a series of procedural blunders and ‘missed opportunities’ the two officers failed to record crucial warning signs, including stab wounds sustained by the father-of-six, days before he was killed.
Independent Police Complaints Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said: “What we have seen in this investigation and others we have done into the way Greater Manchester Police deal with victims of domestic abuse is that there is sometimes a disconnect between the policies and practice of the force and what is actually happening on the front line.
“There is a need to tackle a culture on the front line, which appears to minimise and dismiss the impact of domestic violence, to make sure that we do not see further examples where victims are let down with catastrophic outcomes.
“There were opportunities for officers to take more robust action in this case and those opportunities were missed.”
It emerged that Mr Orrett had shown the officers a stab-wound that he had sustained on his abdomen at the scene, yet officers failed to record this in their notes.
Instead it was merely stated in their reports that Mr Orrett had been drinking heavily and threatened to self-harm, but that no offences had been committed and the case log was then closed.
The IPCC also accused one officer of gross misconduct for downplaying the incident in the compulsory DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour-based violence) questionnaire – which he claimed Barr did not want to complete at the scene.
Barr stated the form had never been mentioned, and she would have answered the questions if they were asked.
Both officers received written warnings for their actions, which were held to give a misleading impression of the incident.
Greater Manchester Police Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “It is right and proper that these two officers have been held to account for their unacceptable behavior in this case.”
GMP has also acknowledged IPCC recommendations to establish a supervisory system that ensures officers complete and log DASH forms correctly.
Mr Lloyd added: “Tackling domestic abuse will continue to be a priority here in Greater Manchester. I have worked closely with the Chief Constable to significantly improve the way the police deal with domestic abuse and put the needs of victims first.
“This includes closer working with local authorities and other partner agencies and training for police officers.
“Greater Manchester Police has come a long way since this case and this progress was recognised in a HMIC report earlier this month.
“But we cannot be complacent and I will continue to work with the police and all those who deal with domestic violence and give victims the confidence to speak out.”
Image courtesy of GMP, via Flickr, with thanks.