Third person harmed by Wiltshire Police Clare’s Law failure
The force is already investigating disclosure failings under Clare’s Law, and announced last week that two people came to harm as a result of failures. But after the announcement, Chief Constable Catherine Roper confirmed a third “potential failure in our service towards the end of 2023 may have contributed to another person being harmed”. She said that it was an incident of common assault against an adult female.
The scheme allows people to request information about people they are in a relationship with, regarding whether they have a history of violence. In October, Wiltshire Police began carrying out an urgent assessment of more than 3,500 applications made under the disclosure scheme known as Clare’s Law between April 2015 and August 2023 and found 25 failures in its service. Chief Constable Roper described the initial findings as “a catastrophic service failure”.
In response to this newly-discovered issue, she added: “I updated our communities on the progress of our urgent review of 3,582 Clare’s Law applications. “After this announcement was made, I was informed of an additional incident where a potential failure in our service towards the end of 2023 may have contributed to another person being harmed. “This additional service failure relates to a Clare’s Law application made after the timeframe of the review.
“However, I can confirm that we have made an immediate referral into our Professional Standards Department, as per our policy, and we have also referred this matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. “Whilst it is crucial that we prioritise the support to the victim and preserve the integrity of both the ongoing criminal investigation and the conduct referrals we have now made, I can confirm that this was an incident of common assault against an adult female. “From the moment our failures within the Clare’s Law scheme came to light, I vowed I would be wholly transparent and honest with our communities.
“That is why I wanted to update you on this latest failure as soon as I could. “As ever, I will keep you fully informed of any additional issues connected to this matter.” In addition to the two critical failures which led to people being harmed, 11 administrative failures and 12 service failures were also found during the original review.
This means that information which should have been disclosed was not, and inadequate research was done.
One member of police staff who is believed to have been involved remains suspended, and the IOPC will continue its independent investigation into Wiltshire Police.