Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Changes made to domestic abuse policies following investigation into Dorset Police contact with Sharon Perrett

Dorset Police have made changes to their domestic abuse policies following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into prior police contact with Sharon Perrett.

Ms Perrett was killed at her home in Park Gardens, Christchurch, by her partner Daniel O’Malley-Keyes in August 2018.

The couple had prior contact with Dorset Police in April 2018 when a third-party called police to report a domestic disturbance. Police attended but found no crime had been committed.

In May 2018, Ms Perrett went to hospital with rib and torso pain and disclosed that she had been threatened and assaulted by O’Malley-Keyes around five or six times previously. She was referred to the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) and a domestic abuse adviser attempted to contact her about the alleged offences.

Our investigation found Dorset Police made genuine attempts to contact Ms Perrett with seven phone calls recorded to Ms Perrett’s phone. It was later found that her phone was not in use and was switched off.

We found no indication any police officer may have behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or committed a criminal offence.

Dorset Police carried out a review of their policy into how contact should be made with domestic abuse victims. The policy now suggests alternative methods of communication should be used when phone calls have been unsuccessful for example contacting family members providing it is safe to do so.

After making body worn video (BWV) available to all frontline officers, the force has also updated its domestic abuse policy to include the requirement for officers to use it when attending incidents of domestic abuse in line with national guidance.  

IOPC Regional Director Catrin Evans yesterday said:

“My thoughts continue to be with Ms Perrett’s family and friends after their devastating loss.

“Our investigation has found that Dorset Police made proactive attempts to contact Ms Perrett in line with established practices and procedures. These attempts to contact Ms Perrett were sadly unsuccessful.

“We note that alternative methods of contact such as attending Ms Perrett’s home were considered but ruled out as inappropriate as they may have alerted the perpetrator to the fact police were involved and put Ms Perrett in immediate danger.”

Daniel O’Malley-Keyes was convicted of the murder of Sharon Perrett in May 2019. He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 18 years.


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