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PSNI officer disciplined for failing to properly investigate break-in at woman's house

By Deborah McAleese

Published 23/07/2015

The woman lodged a complaint to the Police Ombudsman following concerns about the officer's investigation into the crime.
The woman lodged a complaint to the Police Ombudsman following concerns about the officer's investigation into the crime.

A PSNI officer has been disciplined for failing to properly investigate a break-in at a woman's house.

The woman lodged a complaint to the Police Ombudsman following concerns about the officer's investigation into the crime.

She told the Ombudsman's office she was concerned that CCTV footage of those responsible for the break-in was in danger of being lost because of the investigating officer’s failures.

The officer attended her home shortly after she discovered she had been broken into.  The victim  told him  that CCTV cameras covered the area and gave him the details of the caretaker for her apartment complex who he could obtain the recording from. She had been told by the caretaker the footage would be over-written automatically after 21 days.

Nearly three weeks after the incident the footage had still not been collected by police.

The officer was asked by the Ombudsman what steps he had taken to retrieve the footage.  He stated that he had made a number of phone calls to the caretaker and called at the apartment complex on other occasions but found him difficult to get hold of.

 As a result the only remaining evidential opportunity had been lost, leaving the officer no option but to close the case.

 The Ombudsman found that the officer had failed in his duty to conduct the investigation in a prompt and thorough manner as required under Article 2 of the PSNI Code of Ethics.

 He was subsequently disciplined by the PSNI as a result of the Ombudsman’s recommendation.

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