Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Misconduct charges not proven for police officers in Pilkington case

Four Leicestershire police officers have been cleared of misconduct over failings in the Fiona Pilkington case.

The case against the officers was found not proven. Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her daughter, Francecca Hardwick, who had learning disabilities, after suffering years of hate crime. Pilkington phoned the police on at least 33 occasions over the harassment she and her family received. In May, Leicestershire Police was severely criticised by watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for a number of failings in the case, including failing to identify Pilkington and her children as a vulnerable family and dealing with incidents in isolation and with an unstructured approach.

The IPCC report also found that four officers had a case to answer for misconduct. Leicestershire Constabulary deputy chief constable Dave Evans confirmed that the misconduct meetings have been completed. “The findings for the four officers was that misconduct was not proven. “The conclusion from the misconduct meetings were that failings were of an organisational nature due to the systems and processes in place at the time not enabling officers to provide the most effective service.”  Evans added that the organisation as it was seven years ago is completely different compared to today. “Significant resources have been put into both neighbourhood policing and safeguarding and tackling anti-social behaviour is a top priority. “We hope the significant changes that we have made, and continue to make, give the family some comfort and as always our thoughts are with them.”

But Mark Goldring, chief executive of charity Mencap, has called for a re-opening of the case. “It is extremely shocking and disappointing that no one has been held accountable for the failure to protect Francceca Hardwick and Fiona Pilkington. Fiona’s and Francceca’s deaths represented a complete failure in the police’s ability to respond adequately to disability hate crime victims.  “We call on the IPCC to urgently re-open the Pilkington case to assess whether sufficient change to policies and practices has taken place, or whether these failures could in fact be repeated.”

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