The police are examining numerous requests received through Clare’s Law, which grants individuals the ability to inquire about their partner’s history of violence. This review was prompted by the discovery that incorrect or insufficient information had been provided.
The Wiltshire police department will be examining over 3,500 requests for Clare’s law that were submitted between April 2015 and 2023. As a result, one staff member has been temporarily suspended.
The chief constable of Wiltshire police, Catherine Roper, admitted on Thursday that there were failures in disclosing crucial information that could have potentially protected individuals at risk of domestic violence. She expressed her apologies and urged anyone who feels they are in immediate danger to call 999.
IOPC, the organization responsible for overseeing the actions of police, launched an investigation into the way the police dealt with Clare’s Law after a woman in Wiltshire was assaulted by Oliver Cox, an actor from a TV show, in a hotel room in December 2018.
After being assaulted, the woman discovered that Cox, who she had requested a Clare’s Law check on from Wiltshire police, had a documented history of domestic abuse. Despite initially being told there was no cause for concern, Cox’s history should have been identified through additional checks, even though the woman had provided an incorrect date of birth.
In 2021, the IOPC discovered that a researcher who was in charge of handling Clare’s Law requests did not have direct entry to the national police database. Although the researcher could request a colleague to conduct the necessary checks, the IOPC determined that this method did not provide timely access to the required information.
In September, a new investigation was initiated by the IOPC regarding the handling of Clare’s law cases by Wiltshire police. The force had raised concerns about a staff member, prompting the referral to the watchdog.
Roper acknowledged that there were shortcomings and stated, “We are currently conducting an immediate review of all applications for Clare’s Law that have been submitted to us since April 2015, when the staff member began working in this department.”
“We have received a total of over 3,500 applications from April 2015 to the end of August 2023. Our team is committed to reviewing each and every application submitted since April 2015. If we identify any potential risks to individuals, we will make efforts to reach out to the applicants.”
As we strive to comprehend the full scope of these mistakes, it is crucial that we are truthful and open with our communities. Therefore, we are making efforts to clarify the current state of affairs. I would like to use this chance to sincerely apologize on behalf of the company to anyone we may have disappointed.
The IOPC stated that they are reviewing police documents to determine if the proper procedures were followed in regards to the applications. They are also taking into account the training background of the staff member involved.
In 2014, England and Wales implemented Clare’s Law following the tragic murder of Clare Wood at the hands of her ex-partner George Appleton in 2009 in Greater Manchester. Wood was unaware of Appleton’s past history of violence.
The Wiltshire police department stated that individuals who submitted a Clare’s law request to them from April 2015 to August 2023 and have concerns can contact [email protected] via email. Further details can be obtained from the Wiltshire police department.