IOPC investigation into Metropolitan Police Service actions in search for Richard Okorogheye

27 Apr 2021 12:29 PM

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating complaints by Richard Okorogheye’s mother about the way the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) handled reports that her son was missing.

Mr Okorogheye (19) was reported missing from Ladbroke Grove, west London, by his mother, Ms Evidence Joel, on Tuesday 23 March. She made further calls to the MPS the following day.

Mr Okorogheye’s body was discovered in Epping Forest, Essex on Monday 5 April.

A post-mortem was conducted on Wednesday 7 April. Our investigation began after a mandatory referral was received from the MPS on 7 April.

On Friday 16 April, IOPC investigators met with Ms Joel. During this meeting, she informed our investigators that she wished 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. Our investigation will address these complaints and examine the Met’s overall handling of the missing person report.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem yesterday said:

“Our thoughts are with Richard’s family and friends and all those affected by this tragic loss. We have spoken to his family and explained our role.

“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.

“As there is a mandatory requirement for police forces to refer to us incidents which result in a death or serious injury, we will examine the actions and decisions of the police when dealing with the missing person report made in respect of a vulnerable young man.

“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.”