Met Police to apologise to family of murdered sisters for investigation which ‘fell short’

Emily Atkinson
Tuesday 26 October 2021 01:25
<p>Bibaa Henry, 46, left, and Nicole Smallman, 27, who were stabbed to death by Danyal Hussein at a park in London</p>

Bibaa Henry, 46, left, and Nicole Smallman, 27, who were stabbed to death by Danyal Hussein at a park in London

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The Met Police will issue an apology to the family of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry for the way it responded when the sisters were reported missing in Wembley last year.

Henry, 46, and Smallman, 27, were stabbed to death by Danyal Hussein while they were out celebrating the former’s birthday at Fryent Country Park, North London, in June last year. Their bodies were found two days after the incident was reported to police.

Hussein, 19, was convicted of their murder in July.

The Met Police has now said it will apologise to the family after a report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found that the level of services provided over the weekend when they went missing in June 2020 fell below the standards.

Met Police chief Cressida Dick admitted that had police “responded better we may have saved their friends and family immeasurable pain”.

No misconduct was found to have been performed by an officer and two members of police staff, but there will be action taken over their performance, which was found to be inadequate.

Dame Cressida 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 Nicola and Bibaa had been murdered in the early hours of Saturday June 6 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.”

Murderer Danyal Hussein

As a result of the IOPC investigation, 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”, the Met said.

Both will be asked to attend formal meetings to discuss their performance and action, while a second member of police staff, a call handler based at Met Command and Control at Hendon, will receive “management action”. This will see them have a performance discussion with their line manager around what they can learn from the case and how they can improve.

The IOPC investigation considered whether the police response was affected by the sisters’ ethnicity, the Met said.

There was “no evidence” to suggest racial bias played any part in how the missing persons reports were dealt with, it said.

“After a comprehensive examination of police records, no evidence was found of stereotyping or biased assumptions based on the sisters’ race or where they lived,” the force said.

“The IOPC also recommended we review the processes and separate computer systems used by different call handlers, and consider whether further training should be provided to ensure all fully understand how systems operate that they might not use as frequently.

“We have already addressed this recommendation by producing an enhanced training information pack for all call operators.”

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