DAN WOOTTON: Shame on the Lancashire Police who forever sullied the memory of Nicola Bulley with alcohol and personality slurs. Rather than try to find the missing mum, they seemed entirely focused on covering their own backsides
I can’t stop thinking about Nicola Bulley’s two young daughters.
The trauma of this terrible past month will inevitably haunt them for their entire lives.
But, by turning tragedy into farce, the Lancashire Police have made an intolerable situation unimaginably worse.
For three painful weeks, I was prepared to give the cops the time to do their very difficult job, as Nicola’s partner Paul Ansell spoke out in a tortured interview with Dan Walker, expressing hope she might still be alive.
Understandably, they were under huge pressure given the unprecedented interest in the 45-year-old missing mum, with TikTok super sleuths from around the world putting out their own theories – many immediately discredited – to frustrate their progress.
Or, in all honesty, lack of progress.
‘In the end, Nicola Bulley’s body was found just a mile from where she went missing – and not by Lancashire police initially, but a member of the public on a walk’
If Nicola had indeed fallen or jumped into the River Wyre, as they seemed so confident, then why the hell hadn’t they recovered her body?
And given they hadn’t, were they pursuing other hypotheses including foul play?
But then came the press conference led by the telegenic Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith, where it seemed the hapless Lancashire Police were more concerned about covering their own backsides than finding Nicola.
Their intention to dampen down the international criticism of their plodding and shoddy investigation failed spectacularly.
So, within hours, they played their last remaining card: To deflect attention by blaming the person they were looking for.
Despite earlier insisting they would respect the family’s wishes to maintain Nicola’s privacy surrounding intimate details of her clearly troubled life, all bets were now off.
The force announced she had a drinking problem that had been exacerbated by the menopause, resulting in a police call out to the family home last month that was still being investigated.
It read: ‘Sadly, it is clear from speaking to Paul and the family that Nicola had in the past suffered with some significant issues with alcohol which were brought on by her ongoing struggles with the menopause and that these struggles had resurfaced.
‘At the press conference led by the telegenic Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith, where it seemed the hapless Lancashire Police were more concerned about covering their own backsides than finding Nicola’
‘This caused some real challenges for Paul and the family. As a result…a response car staffed by both police and health professionals attended a report of concern for welfare at Nicola’s home address on January 10. No one has been arrested in relation to this incident, but it is being investigated.’
Rightly, the floodgates opened against the Lancashire constabulary.
I was as gobsmacked as I was disgusted.
What changed in a matter of hours to throw the reputation of a missing woman under a metaphorical bus to try and take the heat off police incompetence?
Not to mention the unmistakable hint of misogyny in the police revelation; we all know a missing middle-aged dad with erectile dysfunction would not have had those problems blasted to the country via police statement.
Given Detective Superintendent Smith had refused to reveal the confidential so-called vulnerabilities Nicola had been dealing with at the press conference, what changed? And who overruled her?
And what if Nicola had been alive or on the run at that point? Such egregious speculation about her personal life, now being brought on by the police, could have encouraged her to stay away.
The heartbroken family rushed out a distraught statement begging Nicola to return.
All of a sudden the intense interest in the disappearance had morphed into a national issue of confidence in and competence of our police.
Astonishingly, just 87-minutes after that statement was released to widespread horror and condemnation, Lancashire crime commissioner Andrew Snowden tweeted a smiling selfie with Chief Constable Chris Rowley about the day’s briefings.
Talk about tone deaf.
At the press conference, Smith had spent significant energy slamming those on social media for wasting police time during the investigation.
But then, as MailOnline revealed today, Lancashire Police decided to tweet from their official account a response to a member of the public who had created a Lego miniature of Smith, assuring them: ‘We’ll make sure she sees this.’
If that’s not the definition of a waste of police time, which hints they were somehow enjoying the extra publicity, then I don’t know what is.
How many times does the sort of buck passing we’ve seen the past week to cover up obvious police failures go on when investigations are out of the spotlight?
I’ve been at the sharp end of this sort of police incompetence so, sadly, I think it’s far more common than we might like to think.
When a wannabe celebrity who I won’t name to deprive him of the oxygen of publicity he so desires became my stalker (he ended up going to jail for the crimes committed against me), I had to deal with the interminably creaking system of our police forces.
Good detectives with the best of intentions are consistently let down by insane levels of bureaucracy and technology that would have looked outdated at the turn of the century.
Some of the offences against me were committed online, using various social media platforms, and our police have been simply unable to keep up with the rapid technological change of the past decade.
In the end, Nicola Bulley’s body was found just a mile from where she went missing – and not by Lancashire police initially, but a member of the public on a walk.
I can’t help but wonder if the police had spent far less time worrying about their social media image and PR, and more time focused 100 per cent on finding Nicola Bulley, that the horrific wait for her family may not have gone on so long.
Unfortunately, at a very difficult time for the police in Britain, this case has only hardened the position that many of our police forces and processes are no longer fit for the modern world.
Source: Read Full Article