'Gravely let down': Woman was sexually assaulted after 999 call handler told her 'you don't need the police'


A victim of domestic violence who was subjected to a serious sexual assault after a 999 call handler told her she didn't need police was "gravely let down", a watchdog has found.

In February, the woman called 999 and was transferred to a Hampshire police control room. Her call was abandoned, but the operator could hear a struggle and a man arguing. A control room supervisor called back around fifteen minutes later and told her “you don’t need the police” after questioning her, the Independent Police Complaints Commission found.

Subsequently, no officers were sent out to help her that night, and the next day police were told that she had been seriously sexually assaulted.

The IPCC also found that intelligence checks on her name, address and telephone number had not been carried out, despite notes on the call log saying that they had. If the checks had been carried out, they would have revealed that the woman was suffering domestic violence.

The IPCC said that the way police handled the call was "unacceptable".

IPCC Commissioner Mike Franklin said: "It is not possible to say with any certainty whether police attendance would have prevented this very serious sexual assault. However, what is clear is that this woman, who was in a vulnerable position, was gravely let down by Hampshire Constabulary and the control room supervisor when she needed their assistance.”

The IPCC also found that the control room supervisor in the Hampshire force should face internal proceedings for gross misconduct.

Hampshire Constabulary said that it had reviewed the initial call and referred the matter to the IPCC. Assistant Chief Constable David Pryde said: "We acknowledge the IPCC's report and accept its findings. In this instance, we failed to provide the appropriate level of service and for that I am deeply sorry to both the woman and her family.

"We work hard to equip our staff with the training they need and work is ongoing to improve information sharing and procedures for responding to domestic abuse situations where a history of violence exists. I hope that this in some measure will reassure our communities that we remain committed to protecting people from those who would cause them harm and that when we fall short of those standards we will always seek to learn and improve."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot