News 27 April 2021

Richard Okorogheye: Watchdog To Investigate Police Handling Of Teenager’s Disappearance

27 April 2021

The police watchdog is to examine the police’s handling of Richard Okorogheye’s disappearance.

On the evening of March 22, 19-year-old Richard – who had sickle cell – went missing after leaving his family home in Ladbroke Grove, west London.

His mother, Evidence Joel, contacted police the following day but Richard was not officially recorded as missing until 8am on March 24.

Two weeks later, his body was found in a lake in Epping Forest on April 5 and his mother later said she was “disappointed” with the initial police search to locate her son.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has now said it will investigate her complaints and will look at whether ethnicity played a part in how police handled the case, as well as if the Metropolitan Police “responded appropriately” to the concerns about him going missing.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “Our thoughts are with Richard’s family and friends and all those affected by this tragic loss. We have spoken to his family and explained our role.

“Our investigation will establish whether the police responded appropriately to the concerns raised that Richard was missing.

“We will examine whether the force appropriately risk assessed those reports, and if the amount of resources the Metropolitan Police dedicated to its enquiries were suitable based on the information known by the police and the risks posed.

“As there is a mandatory requirement for police forces to refer to us incidents which result in a death or serious injury, we will examine the actions and decisions of the police when dealing with the missing person report made in respect of a vulnerable young man.”