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No police misconduct over deaths

Four police officers accused of failing to spot a pattern of abuse leading to the death of a woman who killed herself and her disabled daughter after years of harassment by a gang will not face disciplinary action, police have said.

Misconduct allegations against an inspector, a sergeant and two constables over their involvement in the case of Fiona Pilkington and her 18-year-old daughter Francecca Hardwick, who were both found dead in a burnt-out car in October 2007, were "not proven", the Leicestershire force said.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) inquiry found that the officers should have done more to identify Ms Pilkington and her daughter as vulnerable after a litany of complaints to the force about anti-social behaviour towards the family.

Deputy Chief Constable Dave Evans said the misconduct allegations were "not proven" and the failings were "of an organisational nature due to the systems and processes in place at the time not enabling officers to provide the most effective service".

He said: "Following an independent investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which looked at how the force dealt with the family from 2004 to 2007, it was recommended that four officers went through a misconduct process.

"The misconduct meetings have now been completed. The findings for the four officers was that misconduct was not proven.

"The organisation as it was seven years ago is completely different compared to today. Significant resources have been put into both neighbourhood policing and safeguarding, and tackling anti-social behaviour is a top priority."

Mr Dale added: "The force accepted in 2007, following its internal review, that it could have given a better service to Fiona Pilkington and her family.

"The tragic deaths of Fiona and her daughter acted as a turning point for the force in how it prioritised and dealt with anti-social behaviour, linking incidents and identifying vulnerability.

"In the past four years radical organisational changes have been made, not just to systems and processes but in the way officers and staff think, looking not just at the incident but the victim and the wider context."


From Belfast Telegraph