Gaia Pope: Police warned about lacking individuals investigation

A DORSET police officer received a final written warning following his conduct during the missing person investigation for Gaia Pope.

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) brought concerns about the officer to light.

Miss Pope’s disappearance in Swanage in November 2017 sparked a major campaign by family and friends to find her. The 19-year-old was found dead in the undergrowth near the Purbeck coast eleven days after her missing person report.

An autopsy revealed that she died of hypothermia.

Dorset Senior Coroner Rachael Griffin will chair a jury investigation next April that may last up to three months.

The vigil in Swanage after the death of Gaia Pope

The IOPC conducted two investigations into the Dorset Police’s handling of situations related to Miss Pope – the police’s response to a missing person report regarding the teenage girl and her handling of a rape allegation she made in December 2015.

Reportedly, the IOPC completed its investigation in late 2019 and the reports were shared with the coroner, Miss Pope’s family and the Dorset Police Department. The results have not yet been made public and this is expected to remain the case until the investigation is completed.

However, Dorset Police have confirmed that the police station has found misconduct by officers in connection with the missing person investigation.

A Dorset Police Department spokesman said: “We can confirm that the IOPC has conducted an independent investigation. The wrongdoing session took place because of behavioral issues identified in an IOPC report.

“Meetings about misconduct are held privately, but interested parties have the option of attending or being represented.

“The result of the meeting was that the officer received a final written warning.”

No information was given about the officer’s rank or his involvement in the missing person investigation. Police said they were unable to comment on Miss Pope’s case while the coroner continues their investigation.

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