Northampton

Northamptonshire police employee demoted over missing girl, 15

A police employee who had a "casual attitude" towards reports of a missing girl has been given a final written warning for misconduct and demoted.

The deputy team leader in the Northants control room downgraded a call from the girl's care home, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said.

The decision-making in November 2011 was unacceptable, it added.

Northamptonshire Police said it had since made "significant improvements" in its control room.

Sexual assault allegation

The IPCC said the officer was found to have downgraded the call from "emergency" to a "prompt response" and deployment of officers was not quick enough given the vulnerability of the 15-year-old girl.

When she was found several hours later at the location suggested by the care home, she was under the influence of alcohol and made an allegation of sexual assault against a man.

A man was subsequently arrested and later released without charge.

The IPCC investigation found the area sergeant had not been informed and, according to the force's own policy, a young missing person should never be risk assessed as low.

IPCC Commissioner Amerdeep Somal said: "Our investigation found the member of staff displayed a casual attitude towards the report of the missing girl and wrongly assessed the risk."

Det Supt Jan Meagher said: "We regret that the correct procedure was not followed on this occasion, and that, as a result of human error, there was a delay in safely locating the missing girl."

She added that training had been improved and every incident graded as "emergency" or "prompt response" was reviewed and closed by an inspector.

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