POLICE will provide temporary mobile phones to people at risk of domestic violence whose own phones have been taken as part of an investigation.

The decision was made after a woman was murdered where she worked just days after the man who killed her had been arrested on suspicion of harassing her.

Stuart Thomas, aged 49, stabbed Katrina O’Hara at the salon where she worked in Blandford Forum, Dorset on January 7, 2016.

Officers had taken Ms O’Hara’s mobile phone on December 30 in 2015 to investigate the alleged harassment.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said she was left afraid and vulnerable because she could not contact the police immediately.

It issued a recommendation to all police forces in England and Wales, including Greater Manchester Police, to try to prevent the situation from happening again.

The National Police Chiefs Council has written to all Chief Constables and domestic abuse leads across the country, urging them to address the recommendation in their local policies and practice.

The College of Policing has agreed to revise its domestic abuse advice to include text for forces to make arrangements to protect domestic abuse victims when their phones have to be seized for policing purposes.

Father-of-four Thomas had waited for Ms O’Hara to leave her work at Jock’s Barbers, and chased her back into the salon where he stabbed her in the chest.

He was convicted of murder following a trial at Winchester Crown Court, where he was jailed for life with a minimum term of 26 years.

Investigators looking at police conduct found a ‘serious issue’ when looking into the fact that Ms O’Hara was left without a means of communication after her phone was taken by police.

Ms O’Hara’s children said they had spoken out, not to criticise police but to call for a change in how all police forces and other agencies handle domestic abuse.

Last week Greater Manchester residents were urged to not stay silent and to get help for domestic abuse.

A campaign using imagery of a yellow sofa is being used to challenge perceptions of domestic abuse and encourage people to take the first step in getting support.

Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes said: “My message to anyone who is suffering abuse is: you are not alone, we are sitting right with you. There is support available, whether you want to involve the police or not.”

One in three women and one in six men will experience some form of domestic abuse.

The Sitting Right With You campaign encourages people to look differently about what makes a healthy relationship using powerful messages.