South East Wales

'Insufficient' police action to safeguard woman stabbed by ex

Martin Bowen Image copyright Gwent Police
Image caption Martin Bowen was jailed for eight years for stabbing his ex-partner

Three Gwent Police officers took insufficient action to safeguard a woman who was later stabbed by her ex-partner, the police watchdog has found.

Christine Evans called for help as Martin Bowen, 24, was texting her, in breach of a harassment warning in 2014.

But officers did not attend her Newport home, and hours later Bowen stabbed her in the neck and chest.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found there was a case to answer for misconduct.

Gwent Police said it was continuing to "make progress" in the way it responds to "incidents of this nature".

Ms Evans had been judged to be at high-risk of harm from Bowen because of previous domestic violence incidents.

The IPCC said Gwent Police could have arrested him after she reported he was texting her and knocking on her windows and doors in the days before the attack, but they did not attend or record the incident as a crime.

'Priority response'

Five days later he "sent messages to the effect 'I want to see you one more time'" which were recorded as a priority for police to attend within 60 minutes.

But the officer assigned was redirected elsewhere and the incident log was left open.

Bowen was later jailed for eight years for the attack after admitting grievous bodily harm.

IPCC Commissioner for Wales, Jan Williams, said the investigation showed a lack of understanding and confusion among officers around risk assessments and some failure to follow force policies and procedures.

"Christine Evans merited a priority response on the evening before the attack, yet no police officer attended," she added.

"The high volume of open call logs that the force control room was attempting to handle at the time was very concerning, and in our view raised wider issues around public protection."

Responding to the IPCC findings, Gwent Police Ch Con Jeff Farrar said: "Over the past 18 months Gwent Police has made dramatic operational and organisational changes which have addressed all of the issues rightly raised by the IPCC.

"Staff have received additional training and structural changes have significantly increased levels of public satisfaction."

Following the investigation, one officer received a final written warning, one was given a written warning, and a third was given management advice.

A call handler, who failed to update logs and was also found to have a case to answer for misconduct, also received management action.

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