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GMP statement responding to IPCC report into death of Katie Cullen

November 12, 2014, 5:05 pm

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Rumney, head of the Professional Standards Branch, said:

“First and foremost this was the appalling murder of a young woman and our thoughts remain with her family.

“The investigation report by the IPCC into the conduct of Greater Manchester Police officers found no evidence of misconduct and unusually made no recommendations for learning. GMP felt that this was not an acceptable position and that it was necessary to outline to the IPCC that we recognised that the service provided to Katherine should have been better in 2008 prior to her murder in 2009. GMP felt it necessary to highlight the measures which have been put in place in the five years since Katherines murder to demonstrate what GMP has done and is continuing to do to protect the victims of domestic abuse.

” In particular GMP recognises and accepts the comments made by the IPCC that the investigations into allegations of arson in 2007 involving a previous partner of Imam Ghafelipour prior to his relationship with Katherine were insufficient in depth and lacked the rigour they deserved. In addition, that despite officers arresting Ghafelipour, interviewing him and submitting an advice file to CPS, they lacked the investigative experience to undertake such investigations.

” In relation to the previous contact with Katherine in 2008, had more been done to better understand the risk Ghafelipour posed, GMP may have been able to assist Katherine make more informed life choices regarding her relationship with Ghafelipour. The IPCC accept in their report that the officers provided a reasonable rationale for not making disclosures to Katherine about Ghafelipours previous relationship from 2007. Had there been clearer guidance available to the police in the 2007-2009 period on the disclosure to victims of the potential threats posed by perpetrators, the officers may have done so. This opportunity did not come into being until 2012.

” Over the last five years GMP have implemented a number of initiatives aimed at protecting victims from domestic abuse. In September 2012 , GMP became one of the first Forces to pilot the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clares Law), which has now been rolled out nationally. This allows the police to consider disclosing information on request about someones previous history of abuse or violence if approached by a partner. In cases of concern, the police can be proactive now in making disclosures to victims about the threat their partners may pose..

“In addition, police officers can now use Domestic Violence Protection Orders, which give them the power to remove violent partners from their home, legislation which was not in place in 2007 or 2009.

In conclusion, domestic abuse is a complex and challenging issue to deal with and we take all reports seriously. We are developing better networks with agencies to share information and support people throughout the process. GMP is now more focussed on safeguarding, victim care, targeting perpetrators and proactively sharing information. This is reflected in the fact that tackling domestic abuse is now the force priority.

GMP has implemented a range of initiatives to improve the quality of our engagement with victims, additional examples include the use of officers wearing body worn video to improve positive outcomes for victims.  The IPCCs report pre dates the recent re-inspection by HMIC into our response to domestic abuse.

The indications from the re-inspection are that the force is making good progress but this in no way has been interpreted by GMP that the force can be complacent.

There is still much work to be done to ensure that GMPs response to the 65000 domestic abuse reports per year are appropriately progressed.”

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