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Police force criticised for way it handled 'interactions' with 'vulnerable' Jayden before her murder

Teenager Jayden Parkinson was murdered by her ex-boyfriend

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has released its report into the way that Thames Valley Police handled the disappearance of Oxfordshire teenager Jayden Parkinson, and the force's earlier interactions with her in the year 2013.

Seventeen-year-old Jayden was murdered by her former boyfriend Ben Blakeley, who is currently serving a life sentence for killing her.

The IPCC report identified a number of errors in Thames Valley Police's handling of its dealing with Jayden. It found that Thames Valley Police had '... failed to record pertinent information and to allocate sufficient resources to progress earlier enquiries regarding Jayden, which had a detrimental impact on the later missing person investigation.'.

“Jayden Parkinson had already been murdered by Ben Blakeley when she was reported missing and therefore the actions the police should have taken could not have prevented her tragic death.

“However, Jayden was clearly vulnerable when she came to police attention a number of times prior to her death. If information about these interactions had been correctly recorded on police systems, Jayden would have been treated as a high priority when she later went missing. Unfortunately it took nearly a week for the force to identify that Jayden was a high risk missing person.”

– IPCC Associate Commissioner Guido Liguori


Extra training: Police react to criticism of fatal car chase

Thames Valley Police has reacted to criticism of its role in a fatal car chase in Reading and says it has improved the way it responds to incidents and has given staff further training.

The comments follow an Independent Police Complaints Commission report into the conduct of the force in February 2013 and a pursuit which led to the death of 19-year-old Matthew Seddon.

The crash on the A33 Credit: ITV Meridian

Mr Seddon, of Wensley Road, Reading, died after the red Ford Fiesta he was driving collided with the central reservation of the A33. The force referred the incident to the IPCC the following day.

Following the IPCC’s investigation, misconduct proceedings were brought against five police officers and one member of staff.

Three police officers were found to have no case to answer, a fourth police officer was given management advice for an admitted breach of duties and responsibilities, and a fifth police officer was found to have breached the standards of duties and responsibilities but received no sanction.

A TVP member of staff was given management advice for failing to comply with Thames Valley Police guidelines for the management of pursuits.

The IPCC sent its evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which concluded there was no realistic prospect of conviction regarding driving offences.

Matthew Seddon, who died on the A33 Credit: ITV Meridian

“This has been a long and distressing process for both Matthew Seddon’s family and everyone involved in the case since Mr Seddon’s death.

Our thoughts remain with Matthew Seddon’s family and friends, and everyone impacted by this tragedy at this difficult time.

“As a result of this tragic case Thames Valley Police has reviewed a number of our policies and our training, and has improved the way we respond to incidents. For example, all our control room sergeants and supervisors who are involved in managing police pursuit activity from the control room perspective have been given additional training on how to make and record their decisions and actions.”

– Alan Baldwin, Assistant Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police


Three men convicted of GBH and attempted murder

Following a Thames Valley Police investigation, three people have been convicted following an incident in which a man was shot in his chest in Bracknell.

Robert Connor, aged 37, of Victoria Avenue,Camberley, was found guilty at Reading Crown Court by unanimous jury of attempted murder and possession of a firearm.

Michael Crook, aged 64, of Sturdee Close, Frimley, was found guilty by unanimous jury of Section 18 GBH and possession of a firearm.

Scott Kennedy, aged 29, of Sturdee Close, Frimley, was found guilty of Section 20 GBH and possession of a firearm.

They were convicted on Thursday after a trial which lasted two weeks and four days.

At around 6.10pm on 10 May 2015, Robert Connor and Scott Kennedy knocked on the door of a property in Swancote Green while Michael Crook was in a car nearby. When the victim, a 35-year-old man, opened the door Connor shot him in the chest with a firearm.

He sustained a gunshot wound to the chest and was taken to hospital but has since been discharged.

Det Con Greig Williams from Maidenhead Force CID said:

“The jury has convicted all three defendants for their role in this offence. The victim was lucky he was not more seriously injured in this attack and I hope these convictions will allow him to move on from this.”

– Thames Valley Police

The three defendants are due to be sentenced at Reading Crown Court on 20 November 2015.

Sussex and Thames Valley police trial new stop and search techniques

Hundreds of police officers from six forces - including Sussex and Thames Valley - are taking part in a pilot exercise to improve stop-and-search techniques.

It follows the death of 15-year-old Alan Cartwright, who was stabbed to death. His family are calling for more police stop and searches to curb knife crime.

Police stop and search Credit: PA Images

The initiative by the College of Policing involves more than 1,300 officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, Cleveland, Sussex, Thames Valley and Greater Manchester forces, and the British Transport Police.

About 220 officers from each were chosen to take part in the pilot, which was designed with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (ERHRC).

The impact of the training will be analysed by the college and independent researchers to establish if the training changes the way officers approach stop and search.

"We know the public supports the police use of stop and search powers especially where the powers are used to keep people safe. The challenge now is to make stop and searches more effective because high numbers of negative searches can help to create a view that they are unfair and constitute a disproportionate response from police.
"The training will help officers to recognise unconscious bias and monitor how they make decisions about the use of stop and search powers."

– Richard Bennett, College of Policing
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