Solihull Murders - Commons Urgent Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:48 pm on 23rd November 2022.

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The following Answer to an Urgent Question was given in the House of Commons on Tuesday 22 November.

“Let me begin by saying that my thoughts are with the loved ones of Raneem Oudeh and Khaola Saleem. For a mother and daughter to lose their lives in this way is truly heartbreaking. It is of course the perpetrator who bears the ultimate responsibility for this sickening act. Equally, when something like this occurs, it is right that all the circumstances are thoroughly examined. That has taken place in this case, including through an inquest and an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The failings and missed opportunities that have been identified are, clearly, unacceptable. I note that West Midlands Police has apologised to the family of the victims. The force has said that a number of changes have been made since then, including increasing the number of staff specifically investigating domestic abuse offences and the creation of a new team to review investigations. None of this can undo what has happened; nor can it take away the grief and devastation that this horrific crime has caused. What can and must happen is for every possible step to be taken to prevent further tragedies. We expect all necessary improvements to be made in full and at pace.

As a former practising barrister, I want to see massive change in this space. We need action, and we need to continue the action we have started. Cracking down on crime is a key priority for me, the Home Secretary and the Government as a whole. That includes the wide-ranging action we are taking to address violence against women and girls and domestic abuse through the tackling domestic abuse plan and the tackling violence against women and girls strategy. The police are central to this mission, and we will continue to recruit further police officers. We have committed to 20,000 new officers, of whom we now have more than 15,000, but there is more to do.

I will finish where I started, by saying that my thoughts are with the loved ones of Ms Oudeh and Ms Saleem. We owe it to them to do everything in our power to prevent others having to suffer what they had to suffer.”