Police 'abusive voicemail' probed
Two police officers are facing a misconduct inquiry after an abusive voicemail message was left on the phone of a woman who made a complaint of domestic violence.
West Midlands Police have apologised to 19-year-old Alex Faragher and is investigating claims she was called a "f****** slag" and a "bitch" by two officers who recorded the message inadvertently.
Ms Faragher, from Sutton Coldfield, has lodged an official complaint about the incident which happened last month during an inquiry into an alleged assault.
The teenager, who works as a wedding caterer, has handed police a recording of the expletive-strewn message in which an officer claims she is "giving us the runaround".
Confirming that two officers have been placed on restricted duties in non-public-facing roles, Rachel Jones, commander of Birmingham North Police, said: "West Midlands Police received an official complaint on 24th January in relation to an allegation of gross misconduct involving two police officers from Sutton Coldfield police station.
"Due to the serious nature of the allegations the matter was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who have determined that the complaint will be investigated by West Midlands Police Professional Standards Department.
"Across the force we expect the highest standards of professionalism from all officers and police staff.
"This complaint is being professionally and robustly investigated and the force will take necessary action against officers if appropriate."
The senior officer added that she had visited the complainant to explain what action was being taken, and to apologise for any upset caused.
Ms Faragher told the Birmingham Mail: "If I had spoken about them like that I would have been arrested by now and prosecuted.
"These two people were supposed to be coming out to help me and instead I received abuse."
The chief executive of national domestic violence charity Refuge, Sandra Horley, said she was appalled but not surprised at the content of the voicemail message.
Ms Horley said: "We know that negative attitudes about women who experience domestic violence persist within the police.
"Far too many women are disbelieved, ignored and denied protection. In the worst cases, women and children are killed after the police fail to fulfil their duties.
"The police need to get the basics right."