Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Police officers who accidentally left foul-mouthed voicemail calling teenage abuse victim a 'f***ing slag' and 'b**ch' could face criminal charges

Two police officers could face criminal charges after being accused of calling a teenage abuse victim a 'f***ing slag' and 'b**ch' in a foul-mouthed voicemail.

Alex Faragher, 19, from Sutton Coldfield said hearing the abuse in a message mistakenly left by the male West Midlands Police officers felt like being assaulted all over again.

In the two-minute recording left while they were trying to contact the victim so she could make a statement, PC Cavan O'Connell, 48, is allegedly heard talking to another officer in his late 20s.

One of the officers said: 'F***ing b**ch, I specifically said, 'You are not going to give us the runaround are you?'. 'No, I want to press charges,' she said. F***ing slag.'

A second officer then referred to falsifying Faragher's witness statement because they couldn't get hold of her.

He could be heard saying: 'Either that or the only other thing we do is go back, f***ing draft the statement ourselves and then just get the b**ch to sign it.'

The force completed an internal investigation into the incident which involved PC O'Connell, 48, and a long-term colleague and shared the findings with Ms Faragher.

But the 19-year-old appealed the decision and took the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission who have upheld her complaint and referred it to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The CPS will now decide if the officers, who remain on restricted duties, should face criminal charges.

Speaking at the time, the wedding caterer said: 'When I heard the voicemail I was shellshocked. 'It is very serious and I can't believe they would consider writing my witness statement for me. It's horrifying. I feel so sick and upset at the thought of it.

'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, just after I had been through a stressful ordeal.

'The policemen verbally assaulted me. It's disgusting and I feel victimised and humiliated. 'I feel sure if a female officer was in the car I wouldn't have been referred to as a b**ch. It is so disrespectful and the police are meant to be in a position of trust and to help, not cause more harm.

'The voicemail made me feel angry. I only heard a short bit of the conversation but God knows what else they said about me after the recording stopped.

'The police, who are meant to help and make things better have belittled me and made me feel worthless.'

She had called the police at 5.30pm after an altercation with her boyfriend Dean Hannon, 19, and he was arrested.

The caterer said the police told her they would come back at 6pm to take her witness statement and she informed them she was going to her dad's house at 6.30pm.

'I waited for them to turn up but they didn't show. At 6.30pm I went to my dad's and later on I arranged to go to Sutton Coldfield police station to give my statement at 11pm,' she said.

'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.

'I didn't hear the voicemail until after I had given the statement at 11pm, and it was clear the policemen just wanted to get the job done, that's why they were taking about writing my statement for me.

The allegation of gross misconduct in January last year was originally referred to the IPCC after the complaint was made.

The IPCC then determined that the complaint should be investigated by West Midlands Police Professional Standards Department.

This investigation has now been completed and Ms Faragher has appealed the decision, which has now been passed from the IPCC to the CPS.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said: 'The complaint has been thoroughly 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 involved remain on restricted duties.'

Original report here

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