Officer disciplined for failure to adhere to domestic abuse policy

Incident Date: Jul 2017

A police officer, whose failure to update police records about a non-molestation order left two sisters fearing for their safety, has been disciplined following a Police Ombudsman investigation.

The officer admitted failing to record that she had served the order on one of the women’s father in July 2017, which meant when they reported his presence in their street the next evening they were told no order was in effect.

The sisters, who said they were in fear for their safety as they believed no order was in place to protect them, also complained about the attitude of police officers who attended the scene. They said that police showed little regard for their concerns with one officer advising them to ‘keep your blinds and curtains closed’ to deal with the problem.

Responding to a charge of failure of duty, the police officer told Police Ombudsman investigators she had informed the duty sergeant of having served the non-molestation order but, after having been called to a serious road traffic collision a number of hours later, had asked him to update the log while she completed records for the crash. She added that she had assumed the sergeant had done this when she finished her shift.

The following evening whilst off duty she received a call from the same sergeant after he had picked up a radio transmission regarding the sisters’ call. She again confirmed the non-molestation order had been served and said that having discussed the issue twice, had assumed the records would have been updated.

She discovered they had not been when she returned to duty three days later, at which stage she resolved the issue.

When questioned by Police Ombudsman investigators, the officer admitted that she had not fully read the PSNI policy on domestic abuse and non-molestation orders, and had failed in her duty to adhere to its instructions. She also accepted that it was her responsibility to update the police records before finishing her shift. The officer has since been disciplined.

A complaint about the attitude of another police officer who attended on the night of the incident was informally resolved.

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