Police told not to punish accusers in stalking cases

Shana Grice was murdered by her stalker ex-boyfriend

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Officers have been warned against punishing those who report stalking and harassment after a teenager, who was fined for wasting police time, was murdered by her stalker.

Nineteen-year-old Shana Grice complained to Sussex police about her ex-boyfriend Michael Lane five times within the space of six months.

In March 2016 she was issued a £90 fine and the case was closed four months later - on August 25 Lane slashed Miss Grice’s throat and attempted to burn her body.

He was jailed in 2017 for a minimum of 25 years.

The sentencing judge said officers had "stereotyped" Miss Grice before her death and failed to take her reports seriously.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has now advised all police forces to not issue fines, or other fixed penalty notices, in stalking cases.

Its inquiry into how police handled the case also said the College of Policing and National Police Chief’s Council need to ensure police are “fully equipped” to carry out their role.

The IOPC made 16 further recommendations to Sussex Police specifically - telling it to properly train staff, improve risk assessments, communicate better and use systems correctly.

Two of the officers who worked on the case were subjects of disciplinary hearings.

PC Jon Barry Mills was banned from ever working as a police officer again after it was found he committed gross misconduct by ignoring Miss Grice's repeated stalking reports.

The court heard this may have "ultimately contributed" to the circumstances of her death.

Former PC Trevor Godfrey, who accused Miss Grice of wasting officers' time, was told at his tribunal that while his actions were serious, they did not amount to gross misconduct.

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