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Home Breaking Urgent Review into More Than 3,500 Clare’s Law Disclosures Completed

Urgent Review into More Than 3,500 Clare’s Law Disclosures Completed

Wiltshire Police have concluded an urgent review of 3,778 applications made under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare’s Law. This comprehensive review was launched following the identification of critical service failures in October last year.

Urgent Review Into More Than 3,500 Clare's Law Disclosures Completed

The review was prompted by a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) concerning disclosures made by a Wiltshire Police staff member. Since then, every application made between April 2015 and August 2023 has been meticulously reviewed.

Urgent Review Into More Than 3,500 Clare's Law Disclosures Completed

Key Findings:

Urgent Review Into More Than 3,500 Clare's Law Disclosures Completed

  • 33 Failures Identified: Out of the 3,778 applications, 33 failures were identified, representing less than 1% of the total. These failures include 14 administrative errors and 17 service failures, such as non-disclosure or inadequate research.
  • Two Cases of Harm: Tragically, two of these failures resulted in individuals being harmed.
  • Suspended Staff Member: One police staff member remains suspended and is under investigation by the IOPC.
  • Referrals to the IOPC: Five referrals have been made to the IOPC, including the initial referral. These cover two cases where harm was caused, one administrative failure, and issues related to the organizational response to previous referrals in 2019 and 2020.

Chief Constable Catherine Roper expressed deep regret over the failures: “Whilst I hope our communities will take some reassurance from the fact we’ve now reviewed all of these applications, we should never forget that people were put at risk due to our failures. We let people down and we now know that our failures may have contributed to at least two people being harmed. This is completely unacceptable, and I remain appalled that this ever happened.”

Urgent Review Into More Than 3,500 Clare's Law Disclosures Completed

The review process involved approximately 45 dedicated staff members and additional officers from across the force. The team conducted risk assessments and triaged applications into different risk categories to ensure immediate support for those in need.

Urgent Review Into More Than 3,500 Clare's Law Disclosures Completed

Chief Constable Roper added: “As soon as I was made aware of these failures, I ensured dedicated resources were put in place to work to understand where we failed, who might be at risk as a result of these failures, and the urgent action we needed to take. The completion of the 3,778 risk assessments ensured that we identified the people who required our immediate support.”

Urgent Review Into More Than 3,500 Clare's Law Disclosures Completed

Despite the comprehensive review, some individuals could not be contacted, or it was deemed unsafe to do so. Wiltshire Police remain committed to attempting contact where it is safe and appropriate.

Urgent Review Into More Than 3,500 Clare's Law Disclosures Completed

Chief Constable Roper urged the public to come forward if they have concerns or information regarding people at risk of domestic abuse: “I know we have let you down and caused additional anxiety, but I ask again for your trust and urge you to come forward if you have any concerns or information regarding people at risk of domestic abuse.”

The IOPC’s independent investigation is ongoing, with regular updates provided by Wiltshire Police. Those considering making a new application under Clare’s Law can request information through the usual channels on the Wiltshire Police website.

For anyone in immediate danger, please call 999. The dedicated email inbox for applicants affected by the service failure will no longer be monitored, but additional contact information will be available online.

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