IOPC to independently investigate contact West Mercia Police had concerning Alfie Steele prior to his death

Published: 13 Jul 2023

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has begun an investigation into the contact that West Mercia Police had with Alfie Steele, his mother and her partner, prior to his murder.

The investigation follows our assessment of a mandatory referral from the force after the conclusion of criminal proceedings last month (June) when Dirk Howell was found guilty of murder and Carla Scott was found guilty of manslaughter after Alfie, aged 9, died by drowning in the bath at his home in February 2021.

The two individuals convicted had contact with West Mercia Police on a number of occasions in the years prior to Alfie’s murder. Our investigation will consider the actions and decisions of West Mercia Police, focusing on their response to concerns about Alfie’s welfare. We will be reviewing a significant volume of documentation we have requested from West Mercia Police, including police logs, witness statements and relevant local policies.

We will examine whether any person serving with the force may have behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings.  

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “First and foremost, my thoughts and sympathies go to Alfie’s family and friends and everyone who has understandably been left shocked and saddened by his death.

“I have recently discussed the referral with West Mercia Police, which followed the level of public concern raised by the trial of Alfie’s mother and her partner.

“Our investigation will be thorough and completely independent of the police. In examining the force’s response to the series of reports, we will be considering whether there is any organisational learning for West Mercia Police and if any change in policy or practice might help to prevent the awful circumstances of Alfie’s death from happening again.”

We are aware that a Child Safeguarding Practice Review is under way concerning Alfie Steele looking at the role and involvement of a number of agencies.

  • West Mercia Police
  • Death and serious injury