IPCC report critical on conduct of Gwent Police in the case of Christine Evans, stabbed by her ex-partner
Martin Bowen, from Newport, was jailed for eight years in 2014 for beating and stabbing his ex-partner, Christine Evans, in the head, neck and chest during a brutal and ‘sustained’ attack in July 2014, which remarkably, she survived.
Gwent Police referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), and they commenced an independent investigation. The IPPC have today published their report into Gwent Police conduct in this case, which also sets out the history of harassment and domestic abuse during their relationship and after it had ended.
The IPCC report is highly critical of Gwent Polices’ handling of this case, and suggests that officers had a case to answer for misconduct.
The investigation found:
• A historic failure to identify risk to, or safeguard, Christine Evans
• Failure among Gwent Police to follow Gwent Domestic Abuse Procedure
• Failure among Gwent Police to follow Gwent Harassment Procedure
• Failure among Gwent Police to properly respond to and deal with a phone call from Christine Evans
Eleri Butler, Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid, said:
“This investigation highlights the critically important work that police forces still need to undertake to make sure domestic abuse is properly identified and responded to, so that all victims are supported effectively and appropriately. This is not the first time these problems have been raised in Gwent, and we are extremely concerned that these issues are continuing to endanger lives.”
“The report documents some of the ongoing problems that prevent effective, consistent responses from police forces across Wales, which led to Christine’s life being put at risk. We especially want to see greater awareness of the nature and extent of domestic abuse in all its forms, improved training, and better partnership working with specialist services.”
“As Christine’s case shows, a huge amount of work needs to be done to ensure police understand the coercive and controlling aspects of domestic abuse, which have recently been criminalised. Due to this coercive control, a survivor might not always feel able to speak out about the nature or extent of the abuse they are experiencing, but it is the role of police to make sure that, regardless, victims are listened to, understood and protected.”
“We offer Gwent Police the opportunity to work together to help strengthen police responses to survivors of domestic abuse and improve the safety of women and children, and to reduce offending by perpetrators in the future.”