Thursday, 14 May 2009

Charity to Sue Police over Domestic Violence Failures

Refuge are sueing the Greater Manchester Police (as reported here by the BBC), over failures to protect Sabina Ahktar, who was murdered by her husband.

We've all heard many cases where women have been more or less left to their own devices in these cases. There was another one in Manchester, where a woman was killed by an abusive ex-boyfriend, despite the boyfriend being arrested and bailed, despite her having a home alarm and the Fire Service going to the trouble of fitting a device to her letterbox in order to stop an arson attack.

In the second case, the GMP seemed to do quite a lot for the victim and it still didn't work. It doesn't take long to kill someone unfortunately and the Police can't be everywhere all the time.
However, the common denominator is the murderer: they had both been arrested and both been bailed. To let them out to re-offend. In fact this report, this one by the IPCC and this one showing he broke into a previous partner's flat and held her at knifepoint for 8 hours shows that Clare Wood's murderer had had several run-ins with Police regarding her and other women before he eventually killed her, yet they failed to take the threat of violence against her seriously enough to keep him detained.

I think in circumstances like these, where abusive partners have shown a pattern of abuse, the emphasis should be on remanding the abuser in custody, not bailing them so they can continue to abuse.

But the thing that galls me about the first report is that ACPO (the unaccountable private limited company that runs the Police) say that the court case will actually harm vicitms of abuse. How can that possibly be? All that is needed is to change the procedure so it favours the victim.

But therein lies the problem: the Police being run as a business. I just wonder whether its cheaper for the system to provide alarms that don't save people rather than remand the offender in custody, with all the expense that incurs. If that's whats driving Police policy, then they need to re-think it.

Above cost, above the rights of the offender, there should be the right to life of the victim.

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