Control room response helps lead to rape conviction
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The initiative and response of the force’s control room following an emergency call helped lead to a man being convicted of a number of sexual offences.
Lisa Norton, an operator in the force’s Contact Management Department, took a call during the early evening of 23 May from a woman in distress who seemed to be with a man.
A small amount of information was gained from the woman before contact was lost. The team knew they needed to act quickly.
The call was mapped – allowing officers to pinpoint the location of the call, the identity of the caller was established and officers were immediately sent to the area in Leicestershire to try and track down the woman while attempts were made to regain contact.
Authorisation was also made with the police drone team to assist in the investigation.
Within the next two hours that followed, response officers found the victim and provided support to her. The scene of the attack at Watermead Park was also identified with a police cordon being put on in the area as the enquiries continued.
An investigation was launched by the force’s Signal team.
That investigation led to Gurpal Singh Gill, 33, of no fixed address being arrested and charged with a number of sexual offences in relation to the incident.
On Tuesday 9 July at Leicester Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to three counts of rape and three counts of assault by penetration. Last Friday (20 Sept), he was sentenced to 11 years and three months imprisonment.
Lisa said: “This is a call which will stay with me for a long time. I knew straight away that immediate action was required and we had to get to the woman straight away. I’m so pleased that as a team we were able to find her and bring her to safety on that evening - and that the investigation which followed led to this successful conviction.
“As a call handler with the police, a huge part of the job is making quick decisions which are often central to a police investigation and the route which it takes. When you know you have helped a victim of an offence or helped an investigation, that is a part of the job which makes you feel very proud of what you do.
“The victim showed true strength and bravery on the evening of this incident and I wish her well in everything she does in her future. I hope this helps in encouraging other victims to come forward and report to police.”
Superintendent Grant Wills said: “With each call we take in the control room, we are acting as the initial investigating officers. Immediate decisions are required to ensure the situation of the call is understood, the right response is made, victims are protected and supported and that any information which can help an investigation is immediately obtained.
“The victim in this case acted with incredible bravery to be able to make contact with the police at the time of the incident which helped us incredibly in our enquiries to find her, locate the scene and establish what had happened.
“I am pleased to see the resulting conviction from the full investigation and my thoughts continue to be with the victim, and those close to her, as she continues in her life following this horrific attack.”