London

Police failings as officers handed toddler to stranger

Undated Metropolitan Police handout photo of 18 month old Audrey Nyanor who taken from Walworth police station by an unknown woman who falsely claimed to be a friend of the toddlers mother
Image caption Toddler Audrey Nyanor was handed to a stranger by officers from Walworth police station

An investigation into how an 18-month-old girl was handed to a stranger at a south London police station has found multiple failings by the officers involved.

Audrey Nyanor was taken from Walworth police station by Ania Mulange, 31, who police thought was a relative, in 2009.

The young girl was found in Harlesden, north London, three days later.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has told five officers involved to attend misconduct meetings.

The toddler's mother, Cynthia Boakye, 36, had been arrested in December in Walworth over alleged immigration offences.

Audrey, who had been taken to the station with her mother, was later handed over to Ms Mulange.

Police launched a hunt for the child once the mistake was uncovered an hour later.

Ms Mulange was found with the toddler in Harlesden High Street three days later, after being recognised by a member of the public following a police appeal.

She has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

'Worst anxiety'

IPCC commissioner for London Deborah Glass said: "When Cynthia Boakye found herself in police custody she had every reason to expect her baby would be safe.

"Yet officers at Walworth police station handed over her child to another woman with whom she had no connection whatsoever.

"This resulted in immense distress to Cynthia Boakye, who had to endure three days of the worst anxiety a mother can experience, before her baby was found."

A sergeant who was responsible for the custody area of the police station has been told to attend the misconduct meetings.

The two officers who handed the toddler over and two sergeants who were responsible for supervising the shift were also told to attend.

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