A police officer from the same force which is under fire over its handling of the Nicola Bulley investigation has been accused of gross misconduct regarding an unrelated case.
The unnamed cop is the subject of a police watchdog investigation relating to the handling of domestic violence complaints made by 23-year-old mother Kiena Dawes before she tragically took her own life last July.
Ms Dawes’ family claimed she was ‘let down’ by Lancashire Police after reporting she was a victim of domestic violence and fearful of her ex partner.
She allegedly left a note on her phone at a friend’s home which read: ‘I hope my life saves another by police services acting faster,’ The Sun reported.
The police watchdog said an officer from the force now faces investigation because a man was released on bail after being arrested on suspicion of assaulting Ms Dawes just 11 days before she died.
The investigation is ongoing but the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed the unnamed officer has now been served notice and faces potential misconduct proceedings.
The unnamed cop is the subject of a police watchdog investigation relating to the handling of domestic violence complaints made by 23-year-old mother Kiena Dawes before she tragically took her own life last July
Ms Dawes’ family claimed she was ‘let down’ by Lancashire Police after reporting she was a victim of domestic violence and fearful of her ex partner
The officer is from the same force currently facing scrutiny over its handling of the investigation into Nicola Bulley’s disappearance, before her body was tragically found
An IOPC spokesperson said: ‘Our investigation into prior contact between Lancashire Constabulary and Kiena Dawes, before her death on July 22, 2022 continues.
‘We have been looking at the police response when Ms Dawes was reported missing, as well as reports that she had been the victim of assaults.
‘Having obtained and reviewed a number of statements from witnesses, to understand the nature of the contact between officers and Miss Dawes, an officer has been served notice for gross misconduct in relation to their actions leading up to a man being released on bail earlier in July last year.
‘This does not necessarily mean that misconduct proceedings will follow. Our thoughts remain with Ms Dawes’ loved ones and all those affected by her death.’
It comes after the force faced heavy criticism for the way it handled the Nicola Bulley case in nearby St Michael’s On Wyre, prompting calls for an independent probe.
The force were slammed by critics for disclosing the nature of Ms Bulley’s personal struggles at a press conference, sparking accusations her privacy was breached during the investigation.
In the case of Ms Dawes, the 23-year-old was reported missing after she left her nine-month-old daughter, Marnie, with a close friend and disappeared on July 22 last year.
Her brother Kynan told the publication: ‘They let down Kiena in life — and failed her in her last moments. She felt the police weren’t doing anything to help her despite countless reports of domestic violence.
‘Her attacker was constantly bailed and she ended up with nowhere to turn. She lost hope… When we found her note we knew it was a race against time.’
Loved ones called police and provided her car’s make and model, as well as the registration plate. Despite being a high-risk missing person, Kynan says Lancashire Police weren’t quick enough to save her.
‘They don’t act quick enough. They never do. They weren’t interested. That was the longest five hours of my life but poor Nicola Bulley’s family had to wait three weeks. That’s brutal.’
The force were slammed by critics for disclosing the nature of Ms Bulley’s personal struggles at a press conference, sparking accusations her privacy was breached during the investigation
Police from Lancashire Constabulary have faced scrutiny over the Nicola Bulley investigation (pictured searching the river bank on February 16)
The police were aware of the alleged attacks (Pictured: Kiena Dawes shows an apparent injury to her eye area)
Her body was recovered from train tracks near the town of Garstang, Lancashire, as friends and family conducted a frantic search for her in nearby streets and alleyways.
Lancashire Police confirmed a 28-year-old man from Fleetwood had been arrested on suspicion of assaulting her on July 11, days before her suicide.
Despite the allegations of domestic abuse, the man was released on bail pending further enquiries and no charges were brought against him.
In the wake of her death, Ms Dawes’ family revealed she had been living in fear and claimed she repeatedly sought help from police in the weeks leading to her death.
They revealed shocking photos showing her looking bloodied and bruised following an alleged assault which happened after police had fitted panic alarms in her home.
Lancashire Police later confirmed a mandatory referral had been made to the IOPC, which probed if if the force acted sufficiently in response to reports of violence.
The tragedy happened just 11 days after she was allegedly assaulted by a man who her family said the police should have protected her from
Ms Dawes’ family say she was a victim of domestic abuse and suffered horrific injuries before her death
IOPC regional director Catherine Bates said: ‘The death of Kiena Dawes is a tragedy that has had a devastating impact on her family and friends. Our thoughts remain with her loved ones and all those affected.
‘Our independent investigation will help establish the actions taken by police, both in response to reports of violence and to locate her once she was reported missing.
‘We have spoken to Ms Dawes’ family to explain our role and will keep them updated on the progress of our investigation.’
Kynan said the force fitted her home with a panic alarm but added this didn’t stop her attacker coming to her home on July 11, where he allegedly split her head open, leaving her ‘completely traumatised’.
And he said the police should have done more to help her as she attempted to bring her alleged attacker to court.
An IOPC spokesperson said: ‘Our investigation into prior contact between Lancashire Constabulary and Kiena Dawes, before her death on July 22, 2022 continues’
He said at the time: ‘The police have let my sister down, they have. She wanted to go through the legal route to get justice.
‘The girl is dead now, but it should have gone to CPS ages ago. She didn’t want to live a life the way she was living, so she ended it.
‘They did not do enough. The head of CID is going to go through everything with a toothpick.
‘They’re going to find out why nothing happened, and why it got to the point where she felt she wasn’t being looked after by the service, which she should be, and decided to take her life.’
Meanwhile, Lancashire Police has also referred itself to the watchdog over an interaction with Ms Bulley before she vanished while also confirming it would conduct an internal review.
The force come under intense scrutiny over the handling of the search and the disclosure of Ms Bulley’s personal struggles after she vanished from a riverside footpath in St Michael’s on Wyre.
There are fears an internal review could become a case of ‘marking its own homework’.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: ‘We would expect the force to be transparent. That does not preclude further work at the end of that.’
If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, you can contact The Samaritans helpline 24/7 on 116 123 for help and support