Seven arrested in police probe in to care home abuse
Police investigating alleged abuse at a number of care homes in Devon have arrested seven people it has been revealed.
The arrested are two men aged 67 and 39 and a woman aged 26 from Teignmouth, and four people from Bideford - a 42 year-old man, a 38 year-old man and two women aged 24 and 28.
All seven were arrested in relation to offences under the Mental Health Act regarding ill treatment and abuse and were taken into police custody for questioning.
All have since been released on police bail until March while investigations continue.
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The investigation is part of Operation Baddeck which is a multi-agency safeguarding investigation involving Devon County Council, NHS Devon, Devon Partnership Trust, the police, the Care Quality Commission and other local authorities and NHS services which began investigating all homes which came under the management of Atlas Project Team Ltd.
The company is no longer in existence.
Detective Inspector Steve White said today: “Throughout the investigation the safety, welfare and protection of vulnerable adults has been and remains the absolute priority of all the organisations involved.
“Due to the nature of the enquiry and complex needs of the victims this investigation will take many months. Throughout this time the police will continue to work closely with all agencies involved and the victims and families of those affected will receive ongoing support.”
It emerged in November 2011 that Devon and Cornwall Police were looking into a number of allegations regarding levels of care received by residents at Veilstone, a care home for people with learning disabilities near Bideford, North Devon.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) also issued a formal warning to Atlas Project Team Limited, which ran the home.
Inspectors who visited the home unannounced found it was failing to meet government standards covering the care and welfare of residents.
They raised concerns about a “quiet room” where residents spent time or slept overnight, while being monitored by a surveillance camera. The CQC described the room as “unsuitable” and said there were no risk assessments in place.
Inspectors also said Atlas Project Team Ltd failed to show suitable arrangements were in place to ensure people living in the home, or those acting on their behalf, understood the care or treatment choices available to them.
When inspectors returned to the home they found the “quiet room” was no longer in use but they still had concerns that residents were at risk of receiving “inappropriate or unsafe care or treatment”.
In March last year the CQC criticised three further homes for adults with learning disabilities in Devon amid doubts that staff understood what abuse "looks like" and laws on restraining residents.
In a damning report the Commission said the standard of care at the homes run by Exeter-based Atlas Project Team, could not be allowed to continue.
Surprise inspections by the CQC unearthed problems at Teignmead in Bishopsteignton and Gatooma and Santosa, in Holsworthy
At Gatooma they found staff knew what procedures to follow should an incident of mistreatment, abuse or neglect be suspected but it was not evident they knew which practices constituted abuse.
Management and staff team did not understand the current legislation and reporting procedures on restraint and deprivation of liberty.
At Teignmead, Bishopsteignton, the lack of a structured care planning process was putting people at risk of receiving care or treatment that was inappropriate or unsafe.
Arrangements in place for managing behaviour were not protecting people from the possibility of excessive control being exerted by staff.
At Santosa, management did not have suitable arrangements in place to ensure staff were properly trained to enable them to deliver care and treatment safely and to an appropriate standard.
In all three, residents were not given a say in how they should be looked after and their privacy, dignity and independence was not always respected, the CQC found.
Ian Biggs, deputy director of CQC in the South, said at the time that care methods were “old fashioned” adding: “It is quite clear that the services run by Atlas Project Team Limited have been stuck in the past."