Pilkington deaths could happen again because of police failure

 

Tragic deaths such as those of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter, Francecca, could be repeated because some police officers are too embarrassed to ask victims of crime about their disability, inspectors have warned.

Disabled people told a review looking into disability-related hate crimes that the police service had become “too sensitive about causing offence”. Findings from police inspectors, the National Probation Service and the Crown Prosecution Service have suggested that both on-duty officers and control-room staff are reluctant to ask victims of crime if they are disabled.

The joint review was conducted in the wake of the tragic case of Ms Pilkington, who killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick in 2007 following years of harassment from local youths in Barwell, Leicestershire.

In 2011, police were found guilty of failing to take “sufficient action” after receiving 33 complaints from Ms Pilkington over 10 years. It was found that no Asbos were ever applied for, information was not properly shared with partner organisations such as the local council, and police also failed to highlight the family as being vulnerable.

Steve Ashley, programme director at HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), said: “Police officers don’t like to say to people, ‘Are you disabled?’ So even in cases where they have in their mind that the person may be suffering from a disability they just seem to be embarrassed about actually asking the question.”

He added that individual forces had to “get police officers over this embarrassment factor about asking questions”.

In addition, concerns were raised about the under-reporting of disability hate-crimes. This arose from confusion over how to define such crimes, meaning they are not as easily identified as attacks motivated by race or religion. A total of 1,744 disability hate crimes were recorded by the police in England and Wales in 2011-12.

The report recommends that the police, the CPS and the probation service should jointly adopt and publish a “single, clear and uncomplicated” definition of a disability hate crime.

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week