Lancashire police failed to protect abuse victim, says IPCC

Lancashire police have been criticised for the way they dealt with concerns from a woman before she was attacked by her former partner.

The woman was stabbed and had boiling water poured over her by Craig Clarke on 7 September last year.

A report carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found police failed to protect her.

A detective sergeant and five communication operators are now facing disciplinary action.

The IPCC said a "shocking catalogue of errors" by the force left the woman feeling alone and scared.

Clarke pleaded guilty to one offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and two offences of causing actual bodily harm.

'Vulnerable woman'

He was jailed for six years, with an extended licence of 12 years, and given a lifetime restraining order.

On the day of the attack, the woman contacted police several times to report her fears.

IPCC Commissioner Naseem Malik said: "This was a vulnerable woman who was terrified that an abusive ex-partner was intent on causing her harm.

"That turned into a terrifying reality. She turned to Lancashire Constabulary for help but a shocking catalogue of errors left her alone and scared.

"Opportunities were clearly missed to deal with her fears sooner and give her the protection she needed."

The IPCC report highlighted how a police constable recognised the urgent need to arrest Clarke, but the rest of the day saw error after error by communication operators.

Ms Malik added: "There was a failure to notify a supervisor when units were not available to facilitate the urgent arrest request; there was a failure to identify the arrest log had been incorrectly deferred resulting in no attempts being made to arrest Clarke; there was a failure to recognise the increasing risk to the woman.

"She was a repeat victim of domestic violence and given that, and the warning markers on police systems about Clarke's violence, it was clear this should have been treated as a priority."

She concluded: "I am confident Lancashire Constabulary have learned lessons from this case and have reinforced training and procedures to ensure victims of domestic abuse get the service they require and deserve in future."

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