Three Police Now detectives in Gwent help put domestic violence and stalking offenders behind bars
Friday 6 January 2023
Three detectives in Gwent Police, who all joined the force in 2021 via Police Now’s National Detective Programme, have been working to build public confidence in the police with victims of domestic abuse and stalking, after identifying these crimes as a priority.
Together, they helped put several offenders behind bars last year. Detective Constables Amy Prosser, Kate Lewis, and Tallulah Ward Kirkbride tell us more below.
Detective Constable Amy Prosser
Detective Constable Amy Prosser joined Gwent Police via Police Now after completing a master’s degree in forensic investigation at Cranfield University and has since successfully pursued a conviction for a domestic abuse offender in Cwmbran.
Amy was assigned as Officer in Charge of the case in question, involving a man who mercilessly beat his girlfriend non-stop for 40 minutes. By obtaining medical records and CCTV footage, and through conducting interviews with neighbours and the victim, Amy gathered a comprehensive casefile, and was even able to evidence a more serious assault than was initially reported.
Due to the robust prosecution case Amy had built, the offender was remanded in custody at the first hearing, and subsequently pleaded guilty to one count of Grievous Bodily Harm resulting in a 16-month prison sentence.
Detective Constable Amy Prosser said: “This case was a landmark moment for me. With instances of domestic abuse, it can be difficult to get a sentencing, as victims are often too afraid to speak up, so leading this case and seeing the offender convicted was hugely rewarding.
“Given the amount of evidence I had collected and the severity of the attack, I was also able to successfully push for a longer sentence, which I am really proud of.
“Although the victim continues to suffer from the life-long injuries she sustained during the attack, she told me that I had provided her with a renewed sense of safety and confidence in the police. Throughout the case, the victim has shown immense bravery by speaking up, and thanks to her courage, we have managed to bring the offender to justice.
“Being on the Police Now Detective Programme, though challenging at times, has given me moments like these which I’ll remember for a long time.”
Detective Inspector Carl Evans said: “[DC Amy Prosser] has evidenced her professionalism and aptitude within the department and has built strong inter-departmental working relationships, leading to quality investigations and positive outcomes for victims of some of the most serious offences.
“The result of this case will hopefully provide closure for the victim in regard to the incident as well as the opportunity to move forward in her life with the assistance of the support networks and organisations working in partnership with Gwent Police.”
Detective Constable Kate Lewis
Police Now Detective Constable Kate Lewis helped secure convictions for a domestic abuse case when a man in her community reported that he had barricaded himself in his kitchen for fear of being hurt by another member of the family.
Throughout the case Kate focussed on supporting the victim and, by interviewing the offender and securing as much evidence as possible, she secured a charge of Malicious Communications. The offender received a 3-month prison sentence, a 24-month community order, and a probation on a rehabilitation order. He was also required to undertake emotional management sessions and to move approximately two hours away from his victim’s home address.
Detective Constable Kate Lewis said: ”This case was challenging in many aspects; the suspect was non-communicative, and the victim was understandably reluctant to press charges against a member of his own family. However, throughout the case I maintained regular contact with the victim and ensured that safeguarding was always in place and that a sensitive approach was taken.
“Working as a Police Now detective couldn’t be more different from my previous job as a paralegal. Here, every day is different, and you never know quite what to expect; it keeps the work interesting and keeps me on my toes!”
Detective Sergeant Alexandra Smith said: “Kate has really grasped the importance of safeguarding vulnerable people which is demonstrated well by her tenacity to reach a positive outcome in this case. As a service, we strive to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities, though often the damage comes from those closest to us, making evidence gathering a challenging process. In this case, Kate understood the dangers and took action not only to safeguard the victim, but also to work alongside our partner agencies to reduce the long-term risk.
“I’ve been really impressed with Kate as a developing detective, in my opinion she is a strong example of the Police Now initiative working well to place quality candidates onto a suited pathway early and in turn benefitting the organisation.”
Detective Constable Tallulah Ward Kirkbride
Detective Constable Tallulah Ward Kirkbride, having also started a career in law, decided to make a career change and join the Police Now programme in 2021 and has since successfully managed to put an offender behind bars for stalking and making threats of violence.
The incident, involving a man stalking his ex-partner, was one of the Tallulah’s first cases. The stalking initially started with abusive phone calls and messages, gradually escalating in severity, with the offender eventually confronting his ex-partner directly at her home address.
The offender was arrested and subsequently remanded by police to ensure the victim’s safety. When the case went to court, he pleaded guilty to stalking and making threats of violence and received a two-year community order, a seven-and-a-half-month prison sentence, a five-year restraining order to safeguard the victim, and he was ordered to attend 12 days of rehabilitation activity.
Tallulah, as Officer in Charge of the case, was instrumental in achieving this result. Over the course of the case, she built a portfolio of evidence by examining CCTV footage, interviewing the suspect, and tracking the suspect’s vehicle and phone data. Tallulah also visited the victim numerous times throughout the investigation to take statements, all the while providing her with support and helping to restore her faith in the police.
Detective Constable Tallulah Ward Kirkbride said: “It’s not uncommon in these kind of cases for victims to drop their support of pursuing prosecution, which makes the case incredibly difficult to proceed with and causes great risk for the individual. That’s why it was so important for me to build a good rapport with the victim and why I’m so pleased about the end result.
“I joined Police Now from my previous job because I wanted to work somewhere where people, not profits, came first. I was tired of working somewhere where money was the top priority, and so, when a friend mentioned Police Now to me, I applied right away – and haven’t looked back since.”
Detective Sergeant Ceri Ortiz said: “During the investigation, DC Ward Kirkbride was able to build a trusting relationship and rapport with the victim who was very vulnerable. She provided support to the victim, engaged with external agencies, and worked methodically and promptly, submitting the evidential file to the CPS, all of which resulted in a successful outcome at court.
“The victim was subjected to a harrowing ordeal at the hands of the suspect, and the positive result in this case will hopefully help reinforce messages to the community that we support vulnerable victims, ensuring suspects are brought to justice.
“DC Ward Kirkbride is a credit to the Public Protection Team, and the force, supporting victims and providing a professional, effective service to the community.”