Climbié police may face dismissal

David Callaghan
Friday July 16, 2004

The official inquiry site.
Barking and Dagenham response to the Laming Report.

Six Metropolitan police officers could be sacked after being charged with misconduct for failing to perform their duties by protecting child abuse victim Victoria Climbié, it was revealed today.

The eight-year-old girl was killed by her great aunt and the aunt's boyfriend in one of the most horrific abuse cases the country has seen.

One police constable, three police sergeants, a detective inspector and a detective chief inspector involved with the Brent and Haringey police child protection teams are the charged officers, who could face penalties ranging from a caution to dismissal.

Illustration: The injuries on Victoria inflicted by her great-aunt Anna Kouao and her boy-friend:

In addition, a detective inspector and a chief superintendent will receive "words of advice" regarding their failure to perform duties. Two officers of even more senior rank, a temporary commander and a commander, could also face disciplinary action, which will be decided by the Metropolitan police authority.

An inquiry chaired by Lord Laming was critical of social workers and child protection police officers who were aware of Victoria's case, but did not want to visit her for fear of catching the skin disease scabies.

The new Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPPC) made the announcement of the charges today in what many will regard as a very belated response to the case, more than four years after Victoria's death and three years since Marie Therese Kouao and Carl Manning were convicted of her murder. Lord Laming's report was published in January last year.

The IPPC's head of media, Richard Offer, accepted the investigation had taken a long time, but said it was delayed while the Laming inquiry was hearing from police witnesses. "One of the reasons the IPPC was set up was to make sure these inquiries do not take so long."

The IPPC superceded the Police Complaints Authority in April, and took over the investigation of the officers involved in the Climbié case. A "full powers" tribunal will now decide the officers' fate.

Laurence Lustgarten, IPCC commissioner for north-west London, said: "I understand that this announcement may awaken painful memories for the family, but I hope this is another step forward in their search for justice.

"The inquiry was fair and objective, and looked at the actions of officers of all rank. The tribunal will be arranged by the Metropolitan police service."

 Full text

The Laming report (pdf)
28.01.2003: Alan Milburn's statement on the Laming report

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 Big issue

The Climbié inquiry


A-Z guide to public services and voluntary sector speak

 Useful sites

Climbié inquiry official site
Brent council
Ealing council
Haringey council
Social services inspectorate
Department of Health quality protects programme
Department of Health children's taskforce (pdf)
Department for Education children and young people's unit
NCH Action for Children

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