Police Response 'Inadequate'

The way Leicestershire police responded to a woman who made two 999 calls before she was murdered was "wholly inadequate", according to a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Joanne Butler was beaten to death by her neighbour and his son in 2006.

An operator answered three calls made in eleven minutes from Joanne's street in Earl Shilton but didn't send any police officers.

Joanne's mum Pauline:

"We really do feel that Jo's life just wasn't important enough for anyone to care, to tell you the truth."

Joanne had a history of mental health issues, and was known to the police but when she dialled 999 on the night she died, nothing was done.

Two other emergency calls from neighbours were also ignored; including one was from her killer.

The IPCC found a number of failings in the Leicestershire force's handling of Joanne Butler.

IPCC Commissioner Amerdeep Somal:

"The saddest aspect of this case though is that at no stage did anyone appear to show any concern for Joanne. Although they were not able to access information about Joanne and her previous dealings with the police, it should have been obvious from the information they had available at the time that a police officer needed to attend to establish what was happening."

In a statement, Deputy Chief Constable David Evans told Capital:

"Leicestershire Constabulary accepts the findings of the IPCC report.  It acknowledges that failings were made in the way that four calls were handled during the evening prior to Joanne Butler's death in January 2006 and that delays in referral to the IPCC meant that potential disciplinary action in relation to one member of staff could not be considered.

"In the past five years since the incident the Force has radically changed its approach to managing calls from the public, tailoring the service to meet the individual needs of the caller.  All officers and many police staff, including those who take calls from the public, have now received Protecting Vulnerable People training."

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