Nicola Bulley: Independent review underway into Lancashire Police investigation

Posted on - 10th May, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Inskip, Lancashire Police, Preston News, Wyre News
Nicola Bulley
Nicola Bulley

The independent review into the handling of the widely publicised missing from home investigation into Nicola Bulley is underway, with findings set to be published in Autumn 2023.


The review’s findings will provide insight into the effectiveness of Lancashire Constabulary’s response over the course of the period Nicola Bulley was missing. It will also examine whether the decision making of Lancashire Constabulary was reasonable and proportionate.

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The review will draw upon nationally recognised guidance and expertise from within and outside the College of Policing.

Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden said: “First and foremost my thoughts remain with Nicola’s family and friends who are, understandably, continuing to come to terms with their loss under an ongoing media spotlight.

“Whilst the police investigation has concluded, and the inquest will take place in due course, it is only right that we should examine Lancashire Police’s handling of this tragic case, which has been a cause for public concern, through an externally conducted independent review.


“This review will follow the facts and seek input from relevant operational and subject matter experts in reaching its findings.

“It will also seek to identify good and effective practice, and provide recommendations for wider learning to police forces nationally.

“In my role as Commissioner, as the public’s voice in policing in Lancashire, I need to put in place the appropriate scrutiny to seek the right assurances and to ensure I am effectively holding the Constabulary to account for delivering policing that is efficient and effective for the communities we serve.

“It’s important we understand what worked so that high profile cases can be best investigated and communicated under such spotlight and scrutiny. I am confident that the Constabulary is fully engaging in the review process.”

Nicola Bulley death: Independent review to be held into Lancashire Police investigation

ACC Iain Raphael, Director of Operational Standards at the College of Policing said: “The College is working at pace to conduct a thorough review of the investigation and decision making of Lancashire Constabulary in relation to this tragic case.

“We recognise the impact this work will have on Nicola Bulley’s family and friends who are going through some of the most difficult times imaginable. Our thoughts remain with them as our work continues.

“The review will follow the facts and seek input from relevant operational and subject matter experts to help capture any learning for policing in Lancashire and the wider service.  We will present our findings to the PCC later this year.”

The report and recommendations from the review are set to be made public in Autumn 2023.

Read more: Nicola Bulley family fundraiser page nears £40,000 mark

Lancashire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Sam Mackenzie said: “We are keen to take the opportunity to learn and we welcome the independent review that the Police and Crime Commissioner has asked the College of Policing to conduct.

“We will, of course, work with the College to identify any good and effective practice, learn lessons and provide recommendations for wider learning to police forces nationally.

“We are also aware that the Information Commissioner’s Office have concluded their investigation into our disclosure of personal information about Nicola on February 15 and they have told us they will not be taking any enforcement action. We thank them for their careful consideration of this matter, and we welcome their decision.

“Completely separately we referred ourselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following contact Lancashire Constabulary had with Nicola Bulley on 10 January before she was reported missing.

“The IOPC investigators focussed on the actions of one officer and have now completed their investigation and found no misconduct or wrongdoing.

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“Whilst we do have some procedural learning it is important to note that our attendance was in support of an ambulance deployment and that the officer dealt with Nicola with compassion and empathy putting her care at the forefront of his decision making on that day.

“It is important to stress that this IOPC investigation related solely to contact with Nicola on 10 January and not to the wider missing from home investigation. 

“Our thoughts remain with Nicola’s loved ones at this time.”

Read the full terms of reference for the review on the Lancashire PCC website.

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