Two police officers tasked with working a case involving a missing British woman were reportedly caught lounging on the woman’s couch watching Netflix. The bizarre development was captured on surveillance footage, according to the New York Post.
The Greater Manchester officers decided to relax and hang out in 21-year-old Abbygail Lawton’s home in Wigan after she experienced a mental health crisis. One of the officers was even caught using the woman’s dumbbells while the other scrolled on his phone.
The two officers were sent to the woman’s home on January 3 after concerns were expressed about the woman’s welfare.
Lawton told the BBC: “You think they are there to help you but then they are doing that, it doesn’t make any sense.”
“You expect police to be working hard and protecting people, it’s not what you expect, not very professional.”
The officers were told to wait at Lawton’s home in case she returned while the authorities launched a wider search for the woman, according to a spokesperson for the department.
The officers involved in the incident were not identified.
Lawton mentioned to the BBC that she had disappeared before during a mental health crisis, but the officers typically sat in their car until she returned. After she was alerted to movement in her home by her CCTV app, she discovered the officers in her home watching television and using her personal property.
Reports mentioned that Lawton was taken into custody for 12 hours for wasting police time. But Lawton ultimately filed a complaint against the officers, saying that she was “disgusted by their behavior,” adding that the incident had caused her “mental trauma and mistrust” of the authorities.
A spokesperson for the department responded, noting that while it was “understandable” that the publication of the surveillance footage could “undermine public trust and confidence,” the officers on duty did not breach any protocols.
The force went on to say that the officers were sent to Lawton’s residence to search the property and nearby areas “as per the standard response to a call of this nature.”
“They remained at the location primarily to safeguard the female should she return to the home address.”
“The officers have been spoken to and understand that, whilst the television had been left on and dumbbells left out, they should have refrained from watching it or using them whilst they were deployed to the location,” according to the spokesperson.
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