Police 'regret' Pilkington case

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The Independent Online

The police officer in charge of the force that failed to prevent the years of antisocial behaviour that drove a mother to kill herself and her disabled daughter has stopped short of apologising over the case.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott ran Leicestershire Constabulary from 2002 until after Fiona Pilkington and her daughter were found burned to death in their car in 2007. In a statement yesterday he said: "There are regrets and deep sadness that vulnerable people suffered, so it is wrong to say no one cares.

"This tragic case also highlights the complexities involved in co-operation and the sharing of information between different agencies, so there are lessons to be learnt and they will be."

Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, condemned the failures that led to the deaths as he promised a new drive against antisocial behaviour.

Gordon Brown also told the Labour conference yesterday that police would launch a "direct and intensive" crackdown over the next three years on people who made their neighbours' lives a misery.

Mr Johnson admitted more needed to be done to tackle the failings exposed by the Pilkington case. He said the Government had begun a "concerted effort" to ensure people affected by such behaviour were "rescued from despair".

He added: "This case tragically exposes the insufficient response to public anxiety that still exists in some parts of the country and we need to guarantee consistent standards for dealing with antisocial behaviour everywhere."