Wigan woman 'disgusted' by police caught watching Netflix at her home

2 weeks ago 18

Police seen on woman's home CCTV- blurred facesImage source, Abbygail Lawton

Image caption,

Two officers were sent to the property to wait for the 21-year-old's return

By Lauren Hirst & Ewan Gawne

BBC News

A woman who caught police on CCTV watching Netflix at her home during an emergency search for her has said she was "disgusted by their behaviour".

Two officers were filmed on the sofa watching television and using dumbbells at Abbygail Lawton's Wigan home

They were responding to a report the 21-year-old had gone missing during a mental health crisis.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the officers did not breach standards after she filed an official complaint.

But the force's Professional Standards Branch (PSD) said the pair "should reflect on and learn from the complaint".

Ms Lawton, who said she would request a review of the decision, said their actions had caused her "mental trauma and mistrust" of the police.

Image source, Abbygail Lawton

Image caption,

CCTV footage showed the officers watching television and lifting weights

Police were called to her home on 3 January after concerns were raised about Ms Layton's welfare.

GMP said officers were required to remain at the property in case she returned as a safeguarding measure while a wider search was carried out.

But Ms Layton said during previous call-outs officers had checked her home and then waited for her in the car.

She said she was alerted to movement in her home by a CCTV app, and could see the two men watching television and using her weights after they arrived just before 22:00 GMT, leaving at 01:30 the next day.

Ms Layton said she was found by police at about 04:00, arrested for wasting police time and held in custody for twelve hours, but she said no further action was taken.

"You think they are there to help you but then they are sat doing that, it doesn't make any sense," she said.

"You expect police to be working hard and protecting people, it's not what you expect, not very professional."

Image source, Abbygail Lawton

Image caption,

Abbygail Lawton said she had gone missing during a mental health crisis

A spokesman for GMP's professional standards body said it was "understandable" that publication of the CCTV images "without explanation could undermine public trust and confidence".

But the force added that officers were deployed to Ms Lawton's home to search the property and the surrounding area "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," GMP said.

"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."

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