Lancashire Police are under investigation over Nicola Bulley’s ‘welfare review’ 17 days before her disappearance
Lancashire Police face an investigation into contact with Nicola Bulley days before her disappearance and their decision to release personal information about the mother during the search.
The independent Bureau of Police Conduct says it is investigating an officer’s visit to the family home as part of a welfare check from January 10 to 17 days before the mother’s disappearance.
A spokesman said: “Following a referral from Lancashire Constabulary on Thursday, we have opened an independent inquiry into the force’s contact with Nicola Bulley on 10 January 2023.
“We were notified by the force that an officer was visiting the family home that day as part of a social check. Our thoughts are with Ms Bulley’s family and friends and all those affected by her death. Our investigation is still at a very early stage.’
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden has also today asked the College of Policing to carry out a “full, independent review” of how the case was handled.
Mother-of-two Nicola Bulley (pictured) was discovered in the River Wyre in Lancashire on Sunday morning, more than three weeks after she went missing
Ms Bulley, 45, and her partner Paul Ansell. An inquest into her death was opened at Lancashire Coroner’s Court today
He said: “The public understandably feels that questions remain to be answered and explained about the handling of elements of the police investigation, the way they have been communicated and the decision to release personal information.
“In my role as Commissioner, as the voice of the public in Lancashire policing, I also need to do the proper scrutiny to get the right assurances and ensure I am effectively holding the police to account.
“I have therefore taken the decision to commission a full independent review of the handling of this case, with clearly defined remit to ensure lessons can be learned, not just for Lancashire but for all forces.
“It also includes how such cases can best be investigated and communicated under such a spotlight and scrutiny.”
Mr Snowden added that he had spoken to the Chief Executive of the College of Policing and met with the Lancashire Constabulary Chief Officer Team to outline the scope and nature of the review.
He continued, “Given the amount of misinformation on social media, ill-informed opinions given national airtime, attacks on the personal appearance and family life of senior executives, and invasions of the privacy of Nicola’s family, it is important that a professional , a thorough and informed review is conducted by a national independent body that has the right skills and resources, understands the current standards, and has access to the research information.
“I am sure that the Lancashire Constabulary, the wider police sector and others will learn lessons from this case, as does most major investigations, and I will update the public with the findings in due course.”
At a press conference last week, Lancashire Police announced that Ms Bulley had been listed as a “high risk” missing person since the investigation began because she had “specific vulnerabilities” including “significant problems” with alcohol caused by persistent struggles were caused with menopause.
Investigators said the force took the “unusual step” to disclose this level of detail as it was “important to clarify what we meant when we discussed vulnerabilities to avoid further speculation or misinterpretation.”
Lancashire Police have said they “welcome the independent review that the Police and Crime Inspector has asked the College of Policing to conduct”.
Meanwhile, the Information Commissioner’s office has made initial inquiries with Lancashire Police to “understand the reasons which led to the disclosure” of the personal information.
In a statement, a spokesman said: “We have made initial inquiries with Lancashire Police to understand the reasons that led to the disclosure of Ms Bulley’s information.
“We will review the information provided to see if further action is needed.”
A man views floral tributes and messages to Mrs Bulley on a footbridge over the River Wyre
A full inquest into the death of Ms Bulley, pictured with her partner Mr Ansell, is expected to take place in June
Ms Bulley’s sister Louise Cunningham shared this yellow heart today
Louise, pictured left with her late sister, was central to the social media campaign to find her missing sibling
It comes after an inquest was opened into the death of Ms Bulley, who was told today she was identified through dental records.
The 45-year-old mother of two was found among the reeds of the River Wyre in Lancashire by members of the public on Sunday – a mile from the bank where her mobile phone was recovered 23 days earlier.
No family members were present during the brief four-minute hearing and no cause of death was given, with the case adjourned until late June this year.
The chief forensic pathologist Dr. James Adeley said he contacted consulting oral surgeon Ian Edwards to ask him to compare dental records from Great Eccleston Dental Surgery obtained by police.
He told the court: “I am satisfied given the likelihood, and even more so, that a positive identification has been made.”
dr Adeley added: “The family have been informed of the date, time and location of the opening of the inquest and have chosen not to participate for reasons that I can fully understand.”
He said the remaining evidence collected by police and the post-mortem required “further assessment”, adding that the full investigation would likely take place in June – once the availability of a Home Office pathologist had been verified.
The coroner continued: “This will allow time to gather the facts of the case and give the experts involved an opportunity to finalize the results of the investigations yet to be conducted.”
It comes after Ms Bulley’s partner Paul Ansell, 44, and relatives said police confirmed their “worst fears” when the body was officially identified on Monday.
Ms Bulley’s body was found on a section of the river just around a slight bend about a mile outside the village, near where a tree had fallen half in and half out of the water, branches and undergrowth partially submerged were .
Flowers are being left at the spot where Mr Bulley’s phone was found near the River Wyre last month
Floral tributes and messages left on the village bridge over the River Wyre at St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire
Friends and family of Ms. Bulley created a GoFundMe page to “support the family with funeral planning and the future of her and Paul’s little girls.”
The site has so far raised over £12,000 from over 550 donations.
Meanwhile, TikTok has vowed to crack down on social media sleuths who have disrupted search and posted troubling conspiracy theories online.
A statement said: “Our thoughts are with Ms Bulley’s family and friends at this difficult time. We have mobilized resources to monitor the evolving discussion of this case.
“We take action against violations of our Community Guidelines, including removing content and accounts and limiting the reach of some content by making it unsuitable for recommendations.”
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health/lancashire-police-will-be-probed-over-welfare-check-on-nicola-bulley-17-days-before-she-vanished/ Lancashire Police are under investigation over Nicola Bulley’s ‘welfare review’ 17 days before her disappearance