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Home Breaking The family of Richard Okorogheye has rejected the Met Police’s apology for failings in handling initial reports that he was missing

The family of Richard Okorogheye has rejected the Met Police’s apology for failings in handling initial reports that he was missing

On 22 March 2021, the body of the 19-year-old was discovered in Epping Forest, two weeks after he went missing from his home in west London.
After he went missing, the police watchdog found officers provided “an unacceptable level of service.”
Mr Okorogheye’s mother has stated that the Met’s apology “is not accepted.”
In a statement, she said the IOPC investigation “confirmed what I always knew – in the darkest period of my life, I was dismissed by multiple Metropolitan Police staff at all levels of seniority, and my son’s disappearance was not taken seriously.
It is a source of deep regret for me that, despite both the IOPC and the Metropolitan Police concluding that the performance of three police officers, including an inspector, and three call handlers fell short of the standard expected,” she added.
Investigators from the IOPC looked into complaints made by Mr Okorogheye’s mother, Evidence Joel, about how she was treated during the calls.
The investigation, which was completed last month, found that “overall, officers provided an unacceptable level of service to Evidence Joel when she reported her son was missing, and that the force should apologise.”
Richard was reported missing on March 23, last year, and his body was discovered nearly a fortnight later, on April 5, in a lake in Epping Forest.
According to evidence gathered by the IOPC, police failed to properly record the teenager’s medical condition after being told he had sickle cell anaemia.
According to the IOPC, this and other information should have been passed on to the appropriate team sooner.
One of the findings was that Ms Joel was told, “If you can’t find your son, how do you expect us to?”
According to the IOPC, she believed racism was at the root of some of the treatment she received and that police were too slow to declare Richard missing.
The IOPC investigation discovered that: * Mr Okorogheye should have been classified as missing sooner, and he was classified as low risk for far too long. The risk level was raised to medium and then high on March 27.
* On the initial police report, a call handler incorrectly recorded Mr Okorogheye’s condition as anaemia rather than sickle cell anaemia. * Two other call handlers failed to notify an inspector that Mr Okorogheye’s condition was sickle cell anaemia because they believed there was no significant difference in risk between the two conditions. The inspector who determined Mr Okorogheye was “not missing” followed local guidelines, but because his mother reported that he left home without his medication, he failed to accurately record and explain why his condition was not considered an immediate health risk.
* A constable failed to include in the missing person report Richard’s GP’s concerns about the risks his condition posed to him. The officer assumed that this was not news.
Bas Javid, the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner, said: “I would like to apologise for the distress caused by the substandard level of service, as highlighted by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
It is clear that the service we provided in the days following Richard’s disappearance was not up to the standard that the public would expect of us, including Richard not being classified as a missing person.
“His risk was not upgraded sooner; communications with his mother were not as informative and precise as they could have been; and, regrettably, one of our officers made an insensitive and inappropriate comment.”

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