Two members of Metropolitan Police staff have been given misconduct notices for allegedly failing to pass on relevant information regarding the disappearance of London teenager Richard Okorogheye in March.
The 19-year-old Oxford Brookes University student who had sickle cell disease and was shielding during the pandemic was reported missing from Ladbroke Grove, west London, by his mother, Evidence Joel, on March 23. She made further calls to the Metropolitan Police the following day. Mr Okorogheye’s body was discovered over a week later in Epping Forest, Essex on April 5. The cause of death is yet to be determined.
In April, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had launched an investigation into complaints by Ms Joel about the way the police handled reports that her son was missing.
On Friday, the IOPC confirmed misconduct notices had been served on two officers.
An IOPC spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have served misconduct notices on two members of Metropolitan Police Service staff as there is an indication that they may have failed to pass on new and relevant information relating to Richard Okorogheye to the team responsible for conducting missing person assessments.
“The serving of misconduct notices does not mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow,” they added.
Ms Joel met with IOPC investigators on April 16 to complain about the way in which she was initially treated by the police and how her reports about the disappearance of her son were handled.
Investigators said they would address the complaints and examine the Met’s overall handling of the missing person report.
IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “Our investigation will establish whether the police responded appropriately to the concerns raised that Richard was missing.
“We will examine whether the force appropriately risk assessed those reports, and if the amount of resources the Metropolitan Police dedicated to its enquiries were suitable based on the information known by the police and the risks posed.
“We will also consider whether Richard’s or his mother’s ethnicity played a part in the way the initial reports of his disappearance were handled”.