Belfast Telegraph

Police 'allowed Dunmurry Manor care home to investigate themselves' - report

Police said procedure in line with protocols

Police allowed a Northern Ireland care home at the centre of a scandal about how it treated its residents to investigate itself, it has been reported.

The claim was made in an independent review seen by the BBC Stephen Nolan Show.

Police said a "robust investigation" was undertaken by the South Eastern Trust and not Dunmurry Manor officials and no concerns were raised.

A damning report by the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland found residents suffered inhumane and degrading care at Dunmurry Manor.

Among the shocking catalogue of deficiencies was a failure to act over resident-on-resident sex abuse, elderly people left for hours in urine-soaked clothing, residents going without food and water and some going without medication for three weeks at a time.

In one particularly upsetting example of neglect uncovered by the Commissioner, a resident’s bone was exposed as a result of a pressure sore that had been left to fester.

On Friday families of Dunmurry Manor residents held a protest outside Northern Ireland's health watchdog body, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority over its handling of the case.

LIVE: Families of residents at Dunmurry Manor Care Home protest outside the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA)

Posted by Belfast Telegraph on Friday, June 22, 2018

The report, seen by the BBC, said a member of staff at the home made an allegation to police saying residents were being locked inside their rooms throughout the night.

Police recorded a crime number and then took nothing to do with gathering the evidence, the broadcaster reported.

Superintendent Ryan Henderson explained how a joint protocol arrangement operated in Northern Ireland and the PSNI acted in the correct manor.  He said around 5,000 referrals were dealt with each year.

He told the Nolan Show: "There are certain people within society who are more vulnerable to abuse and harm than others and the  residents in Dunmurry  nursing home are a good example of that - people who in some cases can't protect themselves. 

"These joint arrangements recognise that actually trying to understand what happened, how someone came to be hurt, has to be done between health professionals and ourselves."

He explained how if an incident occurred an assessment was done by a central referral unit involving police officers to determine if a crime had occurred.

"If it is clear from the outset a crime had occurred the PSNI will take the lead in the investigation, sometimes we do that jointly with social services. It is important to understand the role of the PSNI is about detecting crime that has happened.

"Things may happen in a care environment where somebody comes to harm and that may be a breach of policy or a care plan has not been followed and that may not be a crime.

"Where it is not clear a crime has happened in some cases the most appropriate people to assess what has happened are healthcare professionals and they can assess if care is appropriate and they can put in place what's called safe-guarding measures to stop the harm happening again."

Asked if police collected evidence in the case, the officer said there was no police investigation "because having had the assessment of our colleagues in social work who conducted a robust investigation into it, they said there was nothing of a criminal nature in it."

He said the PSNI did not allow Dunmurry Manor to investigate itself, but rather this was undertaken by the South Eastern Trust, "and they had no concerns".

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