Gaia Pope: Dorset Police officer disciplined over missing teen probe – BBC News


A police officer was disciplined over their handling of the search for a missing teenager who was later found dead, the BBC can reveal.
The body of 19-year-old Gaia Pope was discovered 11 days after she went missing in Swanage, Dorset, in 2017.
Dorset Police has now confirmed it issued an officer with a "final warning" after concerns were raised by the police watchdog about the search.
A jury inquest into Miss Pope's death is scheduled to take place next year.
Her disappearance on 7 November 2017 prompted a large-scale search by police, the coastguard and hundreds of volunteers.
On 18 November her body was found by police close to where items of her clothing had been discovered two days earlier.
A post-mortem examination concluded she had died of hypothermia.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) subsequently launched an investigation into Dorset Police's handling of the search.
The force said a private meeting was held with an officer about "conduct issues" that were raised in the resulting IOPC report.
No other details about the officer's rank or the specific nature of their misconduct was revealed.
Miss Pope's family say they believe the way Dorset Police handled a rape allegation she made in 2015 was a crucial factor in mental health challenges that ultimately led to her disappearance and death.
Clara Pope-Sutherland, Gaia's sister, said: "It's too little too late for us, but hopefully it won't be for other people who go through those experiences.
"The authorities really need to start training, start understanding how to deal with these situations."
Marienna Pope-Weidemann, Gaia's cousin, said: "I think it's appalling that over the last 10 years the number of sexual offences reported to Dorset Police has doubled, while the number of charges has halved.
"Our community deserves so much better than that… [campaign group] Justice for Gaia is determined to effect change on a local level as well while we confront the national problem."
The force said it could not comment on Miss Pope's case because of the forthcoming inquest.
Next year's inquest is expected to last for about three months, with more than 70 witnesses taking part.
Follow BBC South on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to
'Potential new evidence' in teenager's death
Full inquest into teen's death delayed further
'Vital questions' unanswered over teen's death
Gaia Pope death: Family granted inquest delay
Inquest to examine police role in Gaia Pope death
Pre-inquest date 'step closer to justice'
Family lay flowers on anniversary of teen's death
Family appeals to any other victims of sex offender
Family 'unable to grieve' due to watchdog delays
'No answers' for dead teenager's family
HM Courts and Tribunals Service
New Covid variant sparks travel ban to six African countries
Gritting lorries out across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole tonight
Four men in court in connection with alleged poaching offences in Blandford
Condor Ferries boss visits Weymouth
Information about BBC links to other news sites
UK PM calls on France to 'take back' migrants
Channel deaths were avoidable – UN
Whose lives were lost in Channel tragedy?
India court: Forced oral sex not aggravated assault
Fear and hope after anti-Muslim violence in India
The high cost of being a carer in Japan. Video
What I learned eating at 8,000 Chinese restaurants
Whose lives were lost in Channel tragedy?
Three men guilty of murdering black jogger in US
Germany's Team Scholz sweeps away 16 years of Merkel
The America I give thanks for (as I depart)
The case that set Turkey on collision course with the West
'Everyone should feel safe in schools'
Zara McDermott uncovers a dangerous 'rape culture' in Britain's classrooms
Once a cop, always a cop
Macabre crime in the seedy Stockholm underworld…
© 2021 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here