Wiltshire Police’s chief constable has apologised over repeated failures to disclose information requested by people via Clare’s Law.
The force has made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over concerns linked to disclosures made under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
The investigation will focus on the disclosures made by one member of Wiltshire Police staff – who has been suspended and served with a notice of investigation.
The IOPC has determined that they will independently investigate these allegations and the force is in consultation with them regarding a number of additional concerns which have since been identified.
Chief Constable Catherine Roper said: “Having already reviewed a small number of these applications, we know there have been some failures to disclose information which could have protected those most at risk from domestic violence.
“For this, I am truly sorry.
“As we work to fully understand the extent of these failures, fully supporting the independent IOPC investigation, it is vital that we are honest and transparent with our communities and so are reaching out to you to explain the current situation.
“We are now conducting an urgent audit of Clare’s Law applications made to us since April 2015, which is when the member of staff began working in this department.
“The total number of applications made to us between April 2015 and the end of August 2023 is just over 3,500.
“Of these 3,500 applications, information was disclosed in 1,195 cases under the Right to Ask process (where the individual makes the application regarding a current or ex-partner) or the Right to Know process (where the police or a partner agency comes across information indicating an individual is at risk of domestic abuse).
“We have allocated dedicated resources to review every application made to us since April 2015.
“Where we feel there is any risk to any individual, we will be attempting to contact the applicants.
“Whilst the IOPC conduct their independent investigation based on the referrals we’ve made so far, we will consider making further referrals to them as we work through our review.
“I ask our communities to trust us, accepting that we’ve already identified a failure in our service.
“We have put more scrutiny in place than we’ve ever had in this area of our business. Please continue to talk to us if you have any concerns or information regarding people at risk of domestic abuse.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly apologise on behalf of the organisation to anyone we have let down.”
If you made a Clare’s Law or DVDS application to Wiltshire Police between April 2015 and August 2023 and you are concerned with the service you received, you can contact the force directly by emailing [email protected]. Alternatively, you can find more information on this here.
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