WILTSHIRE Police is conducting an “urgent review” of disclosures made by the force under Clare’s Law.
The law allows people to request details of any previous convictions or history of violence a current or former partner of them or a relative may have.
Earlier this year, the Wiltshire force referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) regarding concerns linked to disclosures made under the law by one member of staff.
It is understood the staff member may not have revealed information required under the law after requests were made.
That member of police staff was served with a notice of investigation by the IOPC in relation to this matter and is currently suspended, the force said.
More than 3,500 requests under Clare’s Law were submitted in the period the staff member worked in Wiltshire and Chief Constable Catherine Roper has “wholeheartedly apologised” to those who may have been affected.
Now, the IOPC has determined they will independently investigate these allegations and we are in consultation with them regarding a number of additional concerns subsequently identified.
Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Catherine Roper, said: “Having already reviewed a small number of these applications, we know there have been some failures to disclose information which could have protected those most at risk from domestic violence.
“For this, I am truly sorry.
“As we work to fully understand the extent of these failures, fully supporting the independent IOPC investigation, it is vital that we are honest and transparent with our communities and so are reaching out to you to explain the current situation.
“We are now conducting an urgent audit of Clare’s Law applications made to us since April 2015, which is when the member of staff began working in this department.
“The total number of applications made to us between April 2015 and the end of August 2023 is just over 3,500.
“Of these 3,500 applications, information was disclosed in 1,195 cases under the Right to Ask process (where the individual makes the application regarding a current or ex-partner) or the Right to Know process (where the police or a partner agency comes across information indicating an individual is at risk of domestic abuse).
“We have allocated dedicated resources to review every application made to us since April 2015.
“Where we feel there is any risk to any individual, we will be attempting to contact the applicants.
“While the IOPC conduct their independent investigation based on the referrals we’ve made so far, we will consider making further referrals to them as we work through our review.
“I ask our communities to trust us, accepting that we’ve already identified a failure in our service.”
She urged people to get in touch if they felt they – or someone they know – is at risk of domestic abuse.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly apologise on behalf of the organisation to anyone we have let down,” she added.
If you made a Clare’s Law or DVDS application to Wiltshire Police between April 2015 and August 2023 and you are concerned with the service you received, you can contact Wiltshire Police by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.