Poor police investigation ends with apology to victim of assault

Published Date: 18.06.2013

A police officer has apologised to the victim of an assault after a Police Ombudsman investigation found that the officer failed to properly investigate the attack.

The Police Ombudsman found that the officer did not arrange for the victim's injuries to be photographed or request a medical report on his condition. It also found that the officer failed to update the victim on the progress of the investigation and did not send vital information through to the Public Prosecution Service.

During the investigation of the victim's complaint, a Police Ombudsman investigator examined all relevant police documents and identified the officer directly involved. He was given formal notice of the complaint made against him.

The PPS were asked if the assault had been reported to them. They confirmed that it had not. The tape containing the interview with the man arrested for the assault was requested from the PSNI and checked to confirm that it contained evidence of him admitting the offence.

Officer insisted he had submitted file to PPS, but could provide no evidence of doing so. 

When the police officer responsible for the case was interviewed by Ombudsman investigators he insisted that he had prepared the report and sent it to the PPS. When he was asked for evidence of this he could not give any. He was also unable to explain why he had not contacted the victim of the assault to let him know what was happening with the case.

Substantiating the complaint against the officer, the Police Ombudsman concluded that the officer had failed to submit the report to the PPS, failed to provide updates to the victim, and failed to progress the investigation as he should have done.

Having listened to the admission of guilt on the interview tape, the police officer should have prepared a file of papers for the PPS and included a transcript of the interview, medical evidence and any witness statements. There was no sign that any such file was prepared.

The officer was disciplined by the PSNI and apologised to the victim for not maintaining contact.

The Police Ombudsman also recommended that a new officer be appointed to address the failings of the initial investigation.

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