Relatives welcome Pilkington report

After the publication of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report into the deaths of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter Francesca Hardwick, relatives and campaigners welcomed the findings but said the incident was all too familiar.

Relatives of Ms Pilkington said they hoped the case would help other vulnerable people.

An inspector, a sergeant and two constables will face misconduct proceedings over their involvement in the case Ms Pilkington and her 18-year-old daughter, who were both found dead in a burnt-out car in October 2007.

An IPCC inquiry found that Leicestershire Police officers should have done more to identify Ms Pilkington and her daughter as vulnerable after a litany of complaints to the force about anti-social behaviour towards the family.

Family solicitor Jocelyn Cockburn, of Hodge Jones & Allen, said they hoped the case would lead to "improvements in the way that victims of anti-social behaviour and hate crime are dealt with by the police".

She added: "The family know first-hand the terrible impact of such behaviour on vulnerable people and they dearly hope that other victims will be helped by this case. The family are still struggling to come to terms with the loss of Fiona and Francesca and therefore they ask the press to respect their privacy and not to make any approach to them directly."

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, said disabled people would find the failings of Leicestershire Police, as outlined in the report, "all too familiar".

He said: "While some positive steps have been taken in recent years, we hope that this IPCC report will drive further, much-needed improvements in the way police forces respond to hate crime and persistent anti-social behaviour against disabled people.

"Many disabled people and their families experience harassment and abuse on a daily basis, simply because they are different. It often starts with low level incidents, but Scope research shows that if these aren't dealt with promptly, as in the case of Mrs Pilkington, they can escalate into more serious crimes.

"Many disabled people are still reluctant to report such hate crime and anti-social behaviour, but for those that do, it is vital that their concerns are taken seriously by frontline police officers and dealt with promptly and appropriately."


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