The family of Amber Peat say they have been ‘let down’ by police after confirming that an officer who has been suspended had spread confidential details of the youngster’s death by text message before the teenager’s family had even been told.
Nottinghamshire Police announced at the weekend that an officer was being investigated for gross misconduct, but have so far refused to provide details surrounding the case.
But the step-mother of 13-year-old Amber, who was found hanging in bushes in June following a massive three-day search, told the Chad that the police had informed them of the reasons behind the suspension.
It comes just a week after the IPCC raised concerns that alleged information that ultimately led to the discovery of her body was not followed up by police, although the police has since said the claims are not an official report as yet.
Officers flew up to Scotland on Friday, where Amber’s father Adrian Cook and step-mother Lynda live, to break the latest news.
Lynda Cook said: “The policewoman released information regarding Amber’s death to a public friend of hers before police had even informed the family. She stated in text messages were Amber was found and that she was found hanged.
“We’ve been let down all along by Nottinghamshire Police and social services so I can’t really say I’m surprised.
“We dread to think what will come out in the proper IPCC report, I think there will be more let downs and failings not just for us as a family but for our Amber.”
The police said the officer was suspended after it came to light that they had sent text messages that were ‘disrespectful and shameful’.
The police say an internal investigation has been launched.
However, it has become clear that other issues involving the officer are also being looked at from as far back as 2012.
They include text messages to a personal acquaintance that included racist and derogatory language and taking a photo and making derogatory comments about a vulnerable adult victim.
Deputy Chief Const Sue Fish said: “I am deeply upset that we are investigating such allegations.
“As soon as they came to light the officer involved was suspended from duty and an internal investigation commenced. We are now pursuing fast tracked misconduct proceedings to ensure the officer is dealt with appropriately as soon as possible.
“My colleagues have informed those victims or families who are referred to in the messages sent and apologised to them for the suffering this news will undoubtedly cause them.
“The cases they relate to have been reviewed independently and I am confident that the outcome of those investigations has not been adversely affected by this disclosure and/or the attitudes expressed.
“In addition I give my personal apology to those victims and their families for this disrespectful, shameful behaviour.
“As an organisation we pride ourselves on the high standards of professionalism and integrity we set for our officers and staff. We will take swift and robust actions against any person who falls below this standard. I hope that the actions of this officer does not detract from the efforts of the hundreds of people who represent Nottinghamshire Police on a daily basis and who work very hard to keep our communities safe and protect vulnerable victims of crime.”
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