Nottinghamshire Police put in special measures over handling of victims and investigations

11 March 2024, 13:42 | Updated: 11 March 2024, 15:48

Valdo Caloclane (main), Grace O'Malley-Kumar (top r) and Barnaby Webber (bottom l) and Ian Coates (bottom r)
Valdo Caloclane (main), Grace O'Malley-Kumar (top r) and Barnaby Webber (bottom l) and Ian Coates (bottom r). Picture: alamy

By StephenRigley

Nottinghamshire Police has been placed in special measures amid concern over the force’s ability to carry out effective investigations and support victims.

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The move by police watchdogs comes after criticism of the force’s handling of the case of Valdo Calocane, who killed three people in a knife rampage last June.

It will see the force subjected to what the body calls an "enhanced level of monitoring" under what is known as the "engage" process.

Calocane, a paranoid schizophrenic, is serving a hospital order after admitting killing university students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both aged 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65.

Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Kate Meynell
Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Kate Meynell. Picture: Alamy

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But the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched an investigation into complaints about the force’s previous contact with Calocane and its handling of the subsequent investigation into the killings.

The complaints allege there were “flaws in the handling of the investigation and missed opportunities by police to prevent the killings”.

The watchdog is also considering complaints regarding an outstanding warrant for Calocane’s arrest before the fatal attacks and concerns raised about Nottinghamshire Police’s communication with the families.

Chief Constable Kate Meynell of Nottinghamshire Police says: “I recognise the serious nature of the HMICFRS findings. I have taken urgent action to address the immediate concerns raised and have ensured that all of the initial recommendations that relate to our investigations and support for victims have been completed.”

She went on: “I fully acknowledge that our force has work to do to achieve our vision of being an outstanding force that we can all be proud of. I am fully committed to working with HMICFRS and we will work tirelessly to address their concerns and deliver the best possible service for the people of Nottinghamshire.”

Nottinghamshire Police is one of six forces currently in an enhanced level of monitoring including West Midlands, the Metropolitan Police, Devon and Cornwall, Wiltshire and Staffordshire.

In a statement, the families of Mr Webber and Miss O’Malley-Kumar said: “As families we have been very clear in the concerns we have raised regarding Nottinghamshire Police force. Not only in the investigation itself into the murder of our loved ones, but also in the failures, missed opportunities, lessons and poor communication before, during and after.

“We welcome the news today that the HMICFRS recognise that Nottinghamshire Police require intervention and urgent improvement and that they have effectively been placed into ‘special measures’. We hope this gives the residents of Nottingham more reassurance in their public safety.

“In her response to today’s report Kate Meynell has advised ‘Victims of crime are at the heart of everything that we do’. Given the misinformation, mistruths and failures that we as devastated families have had to contend with from this Police Force, we could not more strongly disagree with her.

“We have to be optimistic that proper investigations will be carried out and result in more than ‘lessons learned and apologies’. We want real change to happen. And that must, without doubt, include individual and organisational ownership and responsibility.”