Labour vows to install domestic abuse specialists in 999 call centreson January 21, 2024 at 11:33 am

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The shadow home secretary says confidence is waning in the police following recent failings.

Cooper speaks to Laura Kuenssberg in the Sunday programme studio

Control centres answering 999 calls need domestic abuse specialists on hand, the shadow home secretary says.

Speaking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, Yvette Cooper said Labour would install the specialists to provide “expertise to deal with difficult cases”.

It comes after Norfolk Police referred itself to the watchdog for not responding to a 999 call from a house where four bodies were later found.

Ms Cooper said the case was indicative of a wider resourcing issue.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

Ms Cooper described the incident in Norfolk as “deeply troubling”.

“Rightly, this case has now been referred for investigation because there does appear to have been a 999 call that wasn’t responded to,” she said.

Whether a domestic abuse specialist present in the call centre would have made a difference is unclear, she added.

“I do think there is a wider issue here about the 999 response to particularly domestic abuse cases,” she said.

In the early hours of Friday morning, an emergency call was made from a house in Costessey, near Norwich. Police resources were not deployed.

Later that morning, officers forced entry to the property following a call from a neighbour, and found a man, woman and two young girls dead.

The force has referred itself to the Independent Office of Police Conduct.

Ms Cooper also pointed to the 2018 case of Raneem Oudeh, who called 999 six times, following an altercation with her estranged husband Janbaz Tarin.

The final emergency call recorded the moment he killed her and her mother Khaola Saleem.

Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats last year showed victims of burglaries and domestic incidents were sometimes waiting more than 13 hours for police to attend,

In July, the government announced police officers in England would no longer respond to concerns about mental health if there is no risk to life or crime being committed in a bit to save police time.

“Police are having to pick up the pieces from all kinds of different crises, be they mental health, be they other crises and failings elsewhere in the system, and they are often overstretched,” Ms Cooper said.

“But we need to make sure that people have the confidence that, if they are in an emergency, the police will be there when they need them and I think too often people don’t feel that is the case,” she said.

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