Change Of Culture To Protect Victims

The police watchdog says the South Wales force needs a major culture change so it can properly protect victims of crime.

A report from the IPCC found officers failed mum Charmaine from Cardiff who was a victim of domestic abuse.

Her boyfriend attacked her with a hammer after she'd repeatedly told police he was a danger.

A report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission says South Wales Police didn't treat her case with urgency or make it a priority.

The report also said the force should have referred the matter to the IPCC at the time it happened.

The watchdog was only made aware of the issue when MP Susan Elan Jones complained on the woman's behalf.

Charmaine had told detectives her boyfriend had assaulted her and made contact with them again when he turned up at her flat and threatened her.

Minutes after officers dropped her home - he attacked her in the head with a hammer.

Recalling the attack, Charmaine said: "He hit me and I tried to run out on to the veranda to scream and he locked the door.  My phone was down on the table and he stole my phone."

"I trusted the police to help us out and they didn't help us. I trusted them and i begged for help - i begged and begged."

Officers from South Wales Police also failed to tell Charmaine that her boyfriend was a registered sex offender.

The report also said the force should have referred the matter to the IPCC at the time it happened.

The watchdog was only made aware of the issue when MP Susan Elan Jones complained on the woman's behalf.

Jan Williams, IPCC Commissioner for Wales, told Heart things have to change: "It was a combination of the actions of individual officers, the overall culture of the force and the priority given to the response and management of domestic abuse allegations.

"So, it is a major culture change and that has to start - and it is - with the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner."

The Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales Police, Alun Michael told Heart: "I think it's very important for people to be reassured by the knowledge that this is something that happened three years ago, that lessons have been learned and systems have been changed.

"We want people to be confident that if they report concerns that those concerns will be handled carefully and sympathetically but that they will be investigated."

Following the IPCC's findings, an officer is now being investigated for misconduct - the performance of 4 other people is also being looked at.

South Wales Police say they're working on an action plan to improve things.

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