Police apologise for 24-hour wait

A SENIOR Ipswich police officer has apologised today after officers took 24 hours to respond to reports that a nine-year-old girl had been attacked at her primary school.

A SENIOR Ipswich police officer has apologised today after officers took 24 hours to respond to reports that a nine-year-old girl had been attacked at her primary school.

Chief Inspector Alan Caton said procedures would be reviewed following the assault of a girl in the grounds of Downing Primary School last week.

As reported previously in The Evening Star, the youngster was on her lunch break last Monday when a man in his late teens or early 20s leapt the fence, pushed the girl over and pinned her to the ground.

Her father, who wishes to remain nameless to protect the identity of his daughter, said the man had fumbled around with his trousers or his pocket as the youngster was pinned down.

The incident happened at about 12.45pm on May 15 and was reported to police half an hour later.

However, officers did not get in touch with the girl's parents until lunchtime the next day - a whole day after the attack.

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The girl's father said: “It was 24 hours before they even called. I couldn't get a response from them until the next lunchtime.

“I feel as if it is not being taken seriously. I am concerned about other peoples' children and I think people have a right to know what happened.”

Today Ch Insp Caton said the problem had arisen because the call had come in half an hour after the event.

He said call handling staff took into the account the fact that the child was safe and the offender was unlikely to still be in the area.

He said: “We did not respond as I would have liked.

“We had the call at 1.20pm from our force operations room and our officers became aware later that afternoon but were not able to attend.

“The response was not up to the standard I would have liked and in hindsight we should have attended sooner. I will personally be looking at why we didn't attend.”

Ch Insp Caton said an officer had now been assigned to the case and was now working closely with the family.

The nine-year-old girl is expected to look at police photographs over the next few days to see if she can recognise her attacker.

He is described as in his late teens to early 20s and was wearing light blue trousers, a darker blue top pulled over his head and dark glasses.

Anyone with information about the incident should call Pc Jon Rodriguez at Ipswich police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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