Fined £90 for wasting police time

A woman reported her stalker to the police five times in six months.

And then he murdered her.

Officers are facing disciplinary action after Shana Grice was fined for wasting police time before she was murdered by her stalker.

Two police officers, one of whom has retired, will face gross misconduct proceedings in front of an independent chairman at public hearings on 7 and 10 May, Sussex Police confirmed. Another police officer will face internal misconduct proceedings, which are carried out in private.

Several others will get retraining, while others still get no further action.

The 14 were investigated by the police watchdog after 19-year-old Miss Grice was murdered in Portslade, near Brighton, East Sussex, in 2016. Michael Lane slit her throat in her bedroom then tried to burn her body.

She had previously reported her ex-boyfriend to officers five times in six months, but was fined £90 for wasting police time.

Lane’s trial prompted widespread calls for action to ensure victims are taken seriously by police. He pursued Miss Grice by fitting a tracker to her car, stole a house key to sneak into her room while she slept and loitered outside her home. It later emerged 13 other women had reported him to police for stalking.

At Lane’s sentencing, Mr Justice Nicholas Green said officers “jumped to conclusions” and “stereotyped” Ms Grice.

It’s almost as if the cultural messages about women have real world effects.

The news comes on the same day the IOPC announced a police call handler from the force was given “management advice” after failing to record a woman’s reports of escalating violence by her ex-husband who shot her dead eight days later.

Michelle Savage spoke to Sussex Police three times before she was murdered alongside her 53-year-old mother Heather Whitbread in an execution-style killing at almost point-blank range in St Leonards on March last year.

She had told officers former soldier Craig Savage was dangerous and she feared for her life.

Sarah Green, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said of both cases: “The police watchdog findings that Sussex Police failed and that there will be misconduct hearings are welcome, but much more is needed.

“Numerous inquests and inquiries have found that multiple police forces have failed to protect women who were murdered. There is a massive failing in police leadership on domestic and sexual violence which is not simply about cuts. The Home Secretary should call time on the promises to do better and require improvement or removal of leaders in forces where women are not being protected.”

Oh well, it’s only women.

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