Coventry & Warwickshire

Warwickshire Police 999 staff failed caller who died

Three police staff have received final written warnings after an investigation into the death of a woman.

Luisa Mendes' body was found at a home in Briar Close, Leamington Spa, on 25 October 2012. It is still not clear how she died.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) inquiry found the control room operators failed to dispatch an officer until 24 hours after receiving a "priority" 999 call.

The force has apologised to her family.

IPCC Associate Commissioner Guido Liguori said: "We cannot say whether police attendance on 24 October 2012 would have had any bearing in relation to Ms Mendes' death.

"However, what is clear is that this woman was let down by the force."

'Vulnerable woman'

The IPCC said a 999 call alleging an assault was treated as a nuisance call and an officer was dispatched the following day. After failing to get an answer, the officer left.

Ambulance crews later discovered the body of the 44-year-old.

"This call contained a clear allegation of assault made by a woman who was vulnerable," Mr Liguori said.

"It was a priority call which required resources to respond as quickly as possibly, and certainly within an hour.

"The three control room staff failed to allocate resources and in doing so, failed Ms Mendes."

Warwickshire Police said it was no longer investigating. Details of a post mortem have yet to be released and an inquest is provisionally set for 31 October.

The watchdog also criticised a supervisor and recommended the force re-examine the handover process for control room staff.

In response, Deputy Chief Constable for Warwickshire Police Lewis Benjamin said it was "extremely disappointing to note the IPCC findings that on this occasion police officers were not deployed in line with force policy".

He said the force had "set ambitious performance targets" and was now reviewing procedures.

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