Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry: Police Met Apologize to Family of Murdered Sisters for “Unacceptable” Response to Missing Persons Report

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Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry: Police Met Apologize to Family of Murdered Sisters for “Unacceptable” Response to Missing Persons Report


The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said it would apologize to the family of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry for the way detectives reacted when the sisters went missing.

The force was asked to do so after an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found the level of service provided to the sisters’ family over the weekend of their disappearance was “unacceptable” .

Mrs. Smallman, 27, and Mrs. Henry, 46, were attacked and stabbed to death in the early hours of June 6 last year, after a party celebrating the older sister’s birthday at Fryent Park in Wembley, north London.

Danyal Hussein, who was 18 at the time of the murder, was convicted of murder at Old Bailey trial in July.

The IOPC Fund stated that on the evening of June 6, the Met the police received three calls from family and friends regarding the whereabouts of Ms Smallman and Ms Henry, after which a missing persons investigation was initiated.

However, the agency found that the inspector on duty decided to shut down police records as one staff member failed to accurately record information regarding Ms. Smallman’s whereabouts and police resources failed. had been deployed only mid-morning on June 7.

The IOPC also found that a call manager called a missing person a ‘suspect’ and appeared dismissive during a call with one of the sisters’ friends who called the police for advice after the discovery. of a pair of glasses near where the bodies were later found.

A service inspector did not assign actions to officers during the evening of June 6 in connection with the missing persons report for Ms Smallman, the agency added.

Meanwhile, no missing persons report was created for Ms Henry until June 7, meaning no action could be taken to locate her, in violation of the policy of force. relating to missing persons.

A search by families and friends of the victim uncovered their bodies at 1:18 p.m. on June 7 at Fryent Park.

The agency said in a statement: “We found the level of service provided to their family and friends the weekend following their disappearance to be unacceptable. “

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The sisters were killed in the early hours of June 6, 2020

“As a result, an MPS inspector and civilian staff member must undertake unsatisfactory performance procedures to deal with and improve their professional capabilities,” he said, adding that the call manager will also receive action from management. .

The agency also recommended that the force review the separate IT systems and processes used by different call managers and consider additional training to ensure all staff fully understand how they operate.

During this time, he investigated whether the police response was affected by the sisters ‘ethnicity, but no evidence was found of stereotypes or biased assumptions based on the sisters’ race or location. where they lived.

Sal Naseem, IOPC Regional Director for London, said: “Had the MPS been focused on advancing the missing persons investigation, this may have prevented the further distress caused to Nicole’s relatives and Bibaa, who made the heartbreaking discovery after organizing their own research group.

“In addition to identifying three people whose performance fell below the standards expected of them, this investigation also identified deficiencies in the service provided, for which we have now advised the MPS to apologize to the family. .

“It is vital that the force addresses these shortcomings and makes lasting changes and improvements to help restore public confidence in the MPS. “

Image:
Hussein, 19, was convicted at Old Bailey of the July murders

A force statement said: “The Metropolitan Police Department will apologize to the family of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry for the way we reacted when the sisters went missing.

“We agree with the findings of a report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct which found the level of service provided over the weekend when they went missing in June 2020 was below standard that it should have been. “

Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “The way in which we responded to reports that Nicole and Bibaa were missing over the weekend was below the standard we should have reached and compounded the distress felt by their loved ones.

“Although we know that very unfortunately Nicola and Bibaa were murdered in the early hours of Saturday June 6, 2020, before they went missing, if we had reacted better, we might have spared their friends and their family immeasurable pain.

“I am very sorry that the level of service we provided was not up to par. We have contacted the family to ask if they would allow me or, if they prefer, another senior officer to visit them at an appropriate time to apologize in person. ”

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