15/04/2016

Police Officers Disciplined For Failing To 'Properly' Investigate Woman's Claims

Two police officers have been disciplined for not properly investigating a woman's claims that her sister had committed fraud involving thousands of pounds of her father's money, the Police Ombudsman has concluded.

The woman contacted police to allege that her sister had been given around £7,000 by her father to lodge in his bank account, but had instead lodged the money in an account of the same name belonging to her brother.

When interviewed, the officer admitted that he had not secured any documentary evidence of where the money had gone before closing the case.

Instead, he said he had been told by the sister that she had a bank statement which would prove her innocence, and he had spoken to Social Services who told him they had seen a copy of the statement.
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He added that he had been told by a supervisor to close the case as it was a civil matter.

The Police Ombudsman investigator concluded that the enquiries were "insufficient".

Further enquiries were carried out after a second supervisor reviewed the investigation following a complaint, and these verified the suspect's account. The Public Prosecution Service directed that she should not be prosecuted.

The investigating officer also admitted making a comment to the woman who made the allegations, along the lines of: "You should be ashamed of yourself for fighting over your father's money when he's not even dead yet."

He apologised if the comment had caused offence, but did not believe it to have been inappropriate.

The Police Ombudsman investigator strongly disagreed, and concluded that the comment had been "completely inappropriate".

(CD/JP)

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