PC failed to investigate claims of woman later murdered by husband
- Credit: Essex Police
An Essex Police officer has been given a written warning after a disciplinary panel found she failed to properly investigate accusations made by a woman later murdered by her husband.
Pc Finley Clark and another officer were called to an address in The Street, Great Saling on August 11, 2019 to reports of a domestic-related incident.
The victim, Linda Vilika, reported that her husband, Wilfred Jacob, had been recording her in her home, had made threats on WhatsApp and that she felt at risk.
Ms Vilika was found dead at the same address eight days later. Jacob was convicted of her murder in January 2020.
A misconduct panel, chaired by Monica Daley-Campbell, at Chelmsford Civic Centre between March 22 and 24 found that Pc Clark failed to undertake an adequate investigation of Ms Vilika's allegations.
It also found she provided an inaccurate account of Ms Vilika's claims in a crime report.
Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills said that Pc Clark's actions "fell below the standards we expect of all of our officers and staff".
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Dep Ch Con Mills added: "Her actions do not represent how we investigate domestic offences or support vulnerable victims as a force.
“This was an isolated incident which we referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) immediately after we became aware of the issue.
“We continue to work to do our best for victims of crime and improve the service we provide to them.
“Where mistakes are made we learn from them and where improper conduct is found we address it robustly as this process demonstrates."
She added: "At the root of this matter is Linda Vilika – a woman who tragically lost her life and we will not, and must not, lose sight of that.
“Tackling domestic abuse and protecting and supporting victims is a priority for our force."
Dep Ch Con Mills said dedicated, specialist teams not only investigate domestic offences but provide enhanced training to new officers.
A domestic abuse problem-solving team, made up of 22 officers, works with repeat victims and perpetrators to reduce crimes, while another 14 officers will form a new proactive domestic abuse team.
A specially-designed domestic abuse training programme is also being rolled out to all officers.