Met offers apology to family of sisters murdered in London park

25 October 2021, 20:33 | Updated: 25 October 2021, 23:47

Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman were murdered in a park in Wembley.
Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman were murdered in a park in Wembley. Picture: PA

By Sophie Barnett

The Metropolitan Police has offered an apology to the family of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry for its initial response when the sisters were reported missing in north London.

It follows an investigation by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC), which found that several mistakes were made by police in the case of the two sisters who were reported missing in June last year.

The IOPC said that information in the case of Nicole Smallman, 28, and Bibaa Henry, 46, who were stabbed to death in a park in Wembley, north London, was recorded "inaccurately".

Danyal Hussein, 19, was found guilty of their murders.

The force said it agreed with the findings of a report by the IOPC that found the level of service provided over the weekend when they went missing was below the standard that it should have been.

The Met said no misconduct was found by an officer and two members of police staff but there will be action taken over their performance, which was found to be inadequate.

There was no suggestion racial bias played any part in how the missing persons reports were dealt with, it said.

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Dame Cressida Dick, the Met's chief, said: “My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Nicole and Bibaa for their tragic losses.

“The way we responded to information that Nicole and Bibaa were missing that weekend was below the standard we should have achieved and compounded the distress felt by their loved ones.

“While we know that very sadly Nicole and Bibaa had been murdered in the early hours of Saturday, 6 June 2020, before they were reported missing, if we had responded better we may have saved their friends and family immeasurable pain.

“I am very sorry that the level of service we provided fell short. We have contacted the family to ask if they will allow me or, if they prefer, another senior officer to visit them at a time that is right to apologise in person.”

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The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been conducting a criminal investigation into serious allegations of misconduct following the incident last summer.

As a result of the findings an inspector, from the North West Command, and a member of police staff, a communications supervisor attached to Met Command and Control at Lambeth, must undertake "unsatisfactory performance procedures".

They will both attend formal meetings to discuss their performance and appropriate action going forward, the Met Police said.

A second member of police staff, a call handler based at Met Command and Control at Hendon, will receive "management action", they added.

This means they will have a performance discussion with their line manager around what they can learn from this matter and how they can improve.

Following calls on the evening of 6 June to report the sisters missing, a police log was created and a missing persons investigation opened for Nicole, and then the following day for Bibaa, the Met Police said.

The IOPC investigation found that the inspector closed the police logs after receiving information about the sisters’ possible whereabouts from a family member.

This information suggested she was not overly concerned about them and would call back in the morning if needed.

The inspector believed the information provided was a justifiable explanation for the sisters’ disappearance.

However, this information had been inaccurately recorded on the police log by the communications supervisor, the IOPC investigation found.

This story is being updated