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UK police pay ‘lip service’ to protecting women, says father of abuse victim

UK police

UK police pay ‘lip service’ to protecting women, says father of abuse victim

The father of a woman who died after being choked by her abusive partner has accused police of paying “lip service” to the protection of women and girls and called for a public inquiry into the culture of UK police.

West Midlands police apologised last month for a number of failings in the case of Suzanne Van Hagen, 34, who suffered months of domestic abuse before she died in February 2013.

Suzanne’s father, Les Van Hagen, said police were called nine times to the flat his daughter shared with her partner, John Worton, who had a history of being abusive to former girlfriends and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

On one occasion, he said, police officers were called to an attack on Van Hagen but ended up arresting her after finding cannabis belonging to Worton. Worton was not arrested despite the assault, he said.

West Midlands police have admitted missing several opportunities to protect Van Hagen before she died.

Her father said: “We should never have been put through what we were put through. You trust these people and they don’t do their job properly.”

The police’s handling of violence against women and girls is under new scrutiny after the murder of Sarah Everard by the Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens.

Mr Van Hagen backed calls for a public inquiry into claims of institutional misogyny in UK policing, saying his daughter’s case was “just not taken seriously” by West Midlands police.

A neighbour, who was asked by police to keep a log of suspected abusive incidents at Van Hagen’s flat, made a note of 27 occasions before she was found dead with bruising around her neck.

The force initially told Van Hagen’s family that she had been murdered by Worton who had then killed himself.

But detectives later changed their view and issued a statement saying she died from a suspected drug overdose, after alcohol and stimulant BZP were found in her system.

Officers said that bruising around her neck was the result of a sex game and ruled the cause of death was an accidental drug overdose.

But a police review in 2017 found that the senior investigating officer in the case failed to make proper enquiries about marks to Van Hagen’s neck. The force later admitted that its initial assumption about drugs had led to an “inaccurate narrative” about her death.

In a statement last month, the West Midlands chief constable Dave Thompson apologised for the “serious shortcomings” in the force’s handling of the case, before and after Suzanne’s death.

He said: “We deeply regret a number of missed opportunities to investigate Suzanne’s circumstances more widely and to engage with her.

“We could and should have done more to protect Suzanne and her daughter from the abuse they were suffering. To compound the family’s pain, they were let down by a failure to properly investigate Suzanne’s death.”

Mr Van Hagen said on Monday that the family had still not received a written apology from the police, despite the force publishing a video apology last month.

“It’s just lip service,” he said. “They found out they had made big, big, big mistakes in Suzanne’s case about three and a half years ago. It’s taken another three years to get this apology.”

On one occasion, a police family liaison officer told Van Hagen’s younger sister: “Your sister had two legs and she should have used them.”

Wayne Jones, the detective who led the failed investigation into Van Hagen’s death, was sacked two years later for sexually harassing four female colleagues.

The Van Hagens’ family lawyers, Deighton Pierce Glynn, said the case highlighted the “institutional discrimination against women by the police”.

Mr Van Hagen said: “The guy had a criminal record as long as your arm, he was not allowed to see his children because of domestic violence and yet he was allowed to have access to our granddaughter. The police knew, the social services knew, the mental health people knew this – but they just didn’t do anything about it. And then to cap it all, when Suzanne died they didn’t bother to investigate her death.”

After complaints by the family, a West Midlands police professional standards report found: “The police response to the domestic violence suffered by Suzanne Van Hagen was very poor, inadequate, lacked positive action and was not as the force and the public could have reasonably expected. West Midlands police did not take this domestic violence seriously.”

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NSCDC To Deploy 30,000 Officers For 2023 Elections

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has disclosed that it will deploy 30,000 operatives to ensure peace during the upcoming general elections in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Commandant- General of the NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday,

He said the operatives would be deployed nationwide to maintain peace.

He said the NSCDC has perfected plans to deploy all resources needed to provide security during the election.

“The corps is poised fairly, and ready to apply all the arsenals needed to provide security and safety for the elections.

“We have an operations department of over 30,000 personnel but then we will also deploy others when the time comes.

“Normally we have the bulk of our people in operations and those who are in operations partake in election processes,” he said.

Audi said that the corps had also perfected plans to begin seminars and workshops in October to discuss the preparedness of the organization towards the general elections.

“We want to tell our people that if you go and involve yourself by becoming partisan you are on your own.

“There are certain things we have introduced in our Standard Operating Procedure — that once you go partisan and you are caught, you will face sanctions and you are on your own.

“So we are ready to partake in the election like I said because we are apolitical and we are going to provide a level-playing field for all citizens to be involved in the elections and exercise their franchise.”

Audi said that the NSCDC partook in election activities because it’s a member of the Inter-agency, Consultative Committee on Election Security.

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NSIA Not Stakeholder In Nigeria Air- F.G

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has declared that the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) is not an investor in the Nigeria Air project.

Sirika made the clarification in a statement issued by James Odaudu, his special assistant on public affairs, on Saturday.

The minister had listed NSIA as part of the local investors with stakes in the national carrier.

He said the NSIA is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, adding that the error was made during his media briefing.

“We wish to clarify that the Authority (NSIA) is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, being a government establishment,” Sirika said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the equity ownership structure of Nigeria Air stands as Ethiopian Airlines 49%, Nigerian private investors (SAHCO, MRS and other institutional investors) 46% and the Federal Government 5%.

“The public, especially the business community and the media, should please note”, the statement added.

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Nigerians Not Ripe Enough To Bear Arms- NSCDC

Nigerians are not ripe to be allowed to bear arms.

This is according to the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ahmed Audi who made the observation when he attended the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.

“I strongly disapproved of it. Even now that there is no law in existence, you still have proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the hands of people.

“It has to do with civilisation and education.

“Even in Europe and America where they have that law where virtually everybody once you can drive can have arms, they are trying to control it now because of how some events unfold.

“In the world, especially in Europe and America, somebody will just wake up and just go to a school and open fire on kids. You know that is madness.

“And so for me, I don’t think we are there yet to allow citizens carry arms” , he said.


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