Cumbria

Poppi Worthington: PCC 'disappointed' over police response

Poppi Worthington Image copyright Family photo
Image caption No one has been charged in connection with Poppi's death

Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner has said he is "disappointed" with the force's response to the death of a 13-month-old girl.

Poppi Worthington was found with serious injuries at her home in Barrow in December 2012, and it has now been ruled that she was sexually assaulted.

Richard Rhodes said the investigation appeared "unacceptable" but he had been told improvements had since been made.

He would be asking the HMIC to independently inspect this progress.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) also said a serving Cumbria Police officer is to face a "performance meeting" which has the power of dismissal if gross incompetence is proved.

'Significant steps made'

Following Poppi's death, her father, Paul Worthington, was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault but has not been charged with any offence.

He has always denied any wrongdoing.

The investigation was later criticised after it emerged that officers failed to preserve vital items for forensic analysis, either at the home or at the hospital after Poppi's collapse, and the scene at the house was not properly secured.

It is now being reviewed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Image caption Cumbria PCC Richard Rhodes said the initial response was "inadequate and unacceptable"

Mr Rhodes said: "The temporary chief constable has reassured me that significant steps have been made in addressing the findings since the first judgement in 2014.

"In order to ensure that progress has been made I have asked the HMIC to come and independently inspect this progress as a matter of urgency."

Performance meeting

In a statement, the IPCC said: "The IPCC undertook a thorough, independent investigation into Cumbria Constabulary's handling of a criminal inquiry into the tragic death of Poppi Worthington....

"As a result of the evidence we presented, one serving officer is to face a third stage performance meeting - which has the power of dismissal if gross incompetence is proved. A second officer has received management action. A third officer cited in the report has since retired from the force.

The IPCC will consider publication of its investigation report once all relevant proceedings have concluded."

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