When Ms Alex Faragher, aged 19, made a report to West Midlands Police at 5:30pm following an altercation with her boyfriend; she thought that the worst was over but she was wrong. Instead she would later discover a belittling, abusive, voicemail message on her phone from the very people that she had trusted to deal with her case.
Following her report to the police, her boyfriend was arrested. The police officers who attended told her that they would return at 6pm to take a witness statement from her, she advised them that she had arranged to go to her father’s house at 6:30pm. The officers didn’t attend, and so at 6:30pm Ms Faragher left to go to her father’s house. She contacted the police station and arranged to attend herself to provide a statement at 11pm.
Ms Faragher raised concerns she had about the statement in any event stating;
‘When I finally gave my statement, I wasn’t given a proper chance to look through it. I struggle with dyslexia when they read it back, parts were wrong but they didn’t get changed.’
On her way home from the police station after giving her statement, Ms Faragher listened to her voicemail messages to discover a two minute recording accidently left by the two officers that had attended her house earlier and had failed to return. She confirmed that listening to the voicemail felt like being assaulted all over again.
PC Cavan O’Connell is heard on the voicemail discussing the failure to get through to Ms Faragher, he is speaking with another officer, seemingly unaware that the phone was still connected;
‘F***ing b****, I specifically said; “you are not going to give us the run-around are you?” “No I want to press charges”, she said. F***ing slag’.
The second officer then responds suggesting that the officers both falsify her statement as they couldn’t get hold of her;
‘Either that or the only other thing we do is go back, f***ing draft the statement ourselves and then just get the b**** to sign it’.
Following her complaint, regarding the officers’ conduct, to the police; West Midlands Police Force Professional Standards Department conducted an internal investigation into the incident and shared the findings with Ms Faragher.
However, Ms Faragher was dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation and appealed their decision to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Her appeal was upheld by the IPCC and the matter has now been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS will now decide whether the Officers involved should face criminal charges for their actions.
A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police Force stated;
‘The complaint has been fully investigated by the force’s Professional Standards Department and the findings have been shared with the complainant… However some of the findings were subject of an appeal to the IPCC who upheld the appeal and recommended the case be referred to the CPS. The CPS investigation is currently underway. The officers remain on restricted duties.’
Ms Faragher stated that she was ‘shell-shocked’ to hear the discussion of her by the officers, people whom she had trusted to deal with the allegations she had made, appropriately and respectfully. In making a statement to the press she said;
‘What if this had been a rape victim and these kinds of comments were being used?… What kind of Police practice is this? I have lost all faith completely. What happens if I need the police now? I wouldn’t want to ring them…. They can’t be trusted. What the officers said was so hurtful, it was like being assaulted all over again, verbally assaulted. It’s disgusting and I feel victimised and humiliated… the police are meant to be in a position of trust and to help, not cause more harm…. [the police] have belittled me and made me feel worthless.’
At Farleys, our specialised Actions Against the Police team have a great deal of experience in bringing claims against the police where they have acted inappropriately. For further information or to speak to us about pursuing a claim against the police, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us by email or call us on 0845 287 0939.