Hollie Gazzard report: Police in Gloucestershire admit failings

Hollie Gazzard report: Police in Gloucestershire admit failings

Domestic abuse policies and training at Gloucestershire Constabulary were “inadequate” when Hollie Gazzard was murdered, an investigation has found.

The 20-year-old was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend Asher Maslin at Fringe Benefits & La Bella Beauty in Southgate Street where she worked on February 18 last year.

Three days earlier, the Churchdown hairdresser had reported Maslin to the police for the theft of her bank card and money from her account.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has found that contact between police and Hollie before her death was proportionate to the theft but that the force did not fully appreciate its potential importance when considered as part of a domestic incident.

 The police watchdog’s report, published yesterday, said the call handler’s response was symptomatic of the force’s inadequate policies and guidelines.

Just days before Hollie’s murder Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) expressed significant concerns about the force’s ability to consistently and appropriately deal with victims of domestic abuse.

Associate commissioner Guido Liguori, said: “It is clear from our investigation that at the time, Gloucestershire Constabulary’s training and policies were inadequate, meaning the officers and call handler were ill-equipped to fully appreciate the domestic abuse factors within the theft.”

Hollie had spoken to the constabulary on February 15 and 16 last year to report the theft and spoke about several historic domestic abuse incidents by Maslin.

The call handler said she had not received specific training on domestic abuse, nor had she had any training or guidance around stalking and harassment.

During the IPCC investigation, the call handler and the two officers who responded were investigated for possible misconduct.

Although the report highlighted failings in their response it did not recommended any face misconduct action.

A re-inspection by HMIC in June has commended Gloucestershire Constabulary’s progress in domestic abuse policies and training.

Responding to the report, Gloucestershire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, Richard Berry, said: “Hollie’s murder shocked the whole community and had a profound effect on so many of us, both professionally and on a personal level. Our thoughts remain with her family.

“I’ve spoken with Nick Gazzard about the findings of the report and fully acknowledged those shortcomings. I am very grateful to Nick for his continued work promoting domestic abuse awareness and helping community safety.”

“It was vitally important to react quickly to those issues and make some very significant steps forward.

“Great progress has been made in many areas including working across our partnerships.

“Part of Hollie’s legacy will undoubtedly be an increased awareness amongst all of us about the nature of domestic abuse and the devastating impact it can have. Everyone has a responsibility to confront it regardless of where it occurs.”

 

Key findings:

  • On February 15, 2014, Hollie called police to report the theft of her debit card by Asher Maslin
  • A number of points that were indicators of serious harm in domestic abuse were not recorded in the call log
  • There are a number of questions the call handler should have asked to ensure Hollie’s safety
  • The officers should have sought to pursue a complaint of stalking or harassment against Maslin, as well as the theft complaint
  • Threats against her dad Nick Gazzard by Maslin should have been acted on
  • There were further steps that the officers could have taken to effect the arrest of Maslin