Major update on probe into police failures in Nicola Bulley case with three areas outlined

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

A major review into Lancashire Police’s handling of missing mum Nicola Bulley’s disapperance will focus on three key areas of the force’s investigation, the county’s police and crime commissioner has said.

It’s been announced today the independent review into Lancashire Police’s response to Ms Bulley’s case has begun.

Conservative PCC Andrew Snowden said the College of Policing’s review will have three areas of focus – the operational response to the high-risk missing person investigation, press engagement and decision-making surrounding disclosure of sensitive personal information.

Lancashire Police came under heavy criticism after the 45-year-old’s body was pulled from the River Wyre in Lancashire on February 19, more than three weeks after she was last seen on January 27.

The review’s findings and recommendations are set to be made public in the Autumn. The Information Commissioner’s Office will not be taking any enforcement action against Lancashire Police over its disclosure of Ms Bulley’s personal information, the force has said.

Ms Bulley, 45, disappeared whilst walking her dog in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, on January 27. Her body was found in the river on February 19 by a passerby. A huge police search in the weeks previous, which involved police divers, helicopters, sniffer dogs and drones found no body.

The cause of death has not yet been established.

The independent review has three areas of focus; it will consider the operational response to the high-risk missing person investigation, the communication and engagement with the press and media, public and family, and decision making surrounding the disclosure of sensitive personal information, Manchester Evening News reports. 

The review’s findings will provide insight into the effectiveness of Lancashire Constabulary’s response over the course of the period Nicola Bulley was missing. It will also examine whether the decision making of Lancashire Constabulary was reasonable and proportionate.

DON’T MISS: Just Stop Oil’s secret training sessions where they refuse to start until pronouns agreed

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden said: “First and foremost my thoughts remain with Nicola’s family and friends who are, understandably, continuing to come to terms with their loss under an ongoing media spotlight.

“Whilst the police investigation has concluded, and the inquest will take place in due course, it is only right that we should examine Lancashire Police’s handling of this tragic case, which has been a cause for public concern, through an externally conducted independent review.

“This review will follow the facts and seek input from relevant operational and subject matter experts in reaching its findings. It will also seek to identify good and effective practice, and provide recommendations for wider learning to police forces nationally.

“In my role as Commissioner, as the public’s voice in policing in Lancashire, I need to put in place the appropriate scrutiny to seek the right assurances and to ensure I am effectively holding the Constabulary to account for delivering policing that is efficient and effective for the communities we serve.

“It’s important we understand what worked so that high profile cases can be best investigated and communicated under such spotlight and scrutiny. I am confident that the Constabulary is fully engaging in the review process.”

DON’T MISS: Dr Shola forced to delete tweet after scathing rant about ‘racist’ new Camilla picture

ACC Iain Raphael, Director of Operational Standards at the College of Policing said: “The College is working at pace to conduct a thorough review of the investigation and decision-making of Lancashire Constabulary in relation to this tragic case.

“We recognise the impact this work will have on Nicola Bulley’s family and friends who are going through some of the most difficult times imaginable. Our thoughts remain with them as our work continues.

“The review will follow the facts and seek input from relevant operational and subject matter experts to help capture any learning for policing in Lancashire and the wider service. We will present our findings to the PCC later this year.”

Announcing their conclusions on Tuesday, ICO’s deputy commissioner of regulatory policy Emily Keaney said: “This was an important piece of work around a high-profile case.

“We wanted to reassure the public that there are rules in place to protect how personal information is used and shared, and we wanted to be clear that while police can disclose information to protect the public and investigate crime, they would need to be able to demonstrate such disclosure was necessary and proportionate.”

Following the IOPC’s decision not to take action against an officer who had contact with Ms Bulley before her disappearance, Lancashire Police said they attended her address “in support of an ambulance deployment”.

Assistance Chief Constable Sam Mackenzie said: “The IOPC investigators focused on the actions of one officer and have now completed their investigation and found no misconduct or wrongdoing.

“Whilst we do have some procedural learning it is important to note that our attendance was in support of an ambulance deployment and that the officer dealt with Nicola with compassion and empathy, putting her care at the forefront of his decision-making on that day.”