Two police officers working on the case of a missing British woman were caught lounging on her couch and watching Netflix, according to a report.
Surveillance footage shows Greater Manchester police officers enjoying some downtime at Abbygail Lawton’s home in Wigan as she endured a mental health crisis.
One of the officers was even seen using his set of dumbbells to do some reps while his partner apparently scrolled on his phone.
“You think they are there to help you, but then they do, it doesn’t make any sense,” Lawton told the BBC.
“You expect the police to work hard and protect people, but it’s not what you expect, it’s not very professional.”
The two officers were called to the 21-year-old’s home on January 3 after concerns were raised about her well-being.
A department spokesperson told the BBC that the officers, who were not identified, were ordered to remain at the property in case Lawton returned, while other officers carried out a broader search for the missing woman.
Surveillance footage captured two Greater Manchester police officers enjoying some downtime at Abbygail Lawton’s Wigan home while she was going through a mental health crisis last month. Abbygail Lawton / Facebook One of the officers was even seen using her set of dumbbells to do some reps while her partner apparently scrolled through her phone. Abbygail Lawton/Facebook
Lawton, however, told the outlet that she had disappeared before during mental health crises, but that officers met her in their patrol car after conducting a sweep of her home.
She said she was alerted to movement at her home through her CCTV app and could see the two men watching television and using her personal belongings after they arrived at 10 p.m.
They were together until 1:30 a.m., Lawton said, more than two hours before other officers found her.
She was reportedly arrested for wasting police time and held in custody for 12 hours.
Lawton said she had disappeared before during mental health crises, but officers met her in their patrol car after conducting a sweep of her home and not spending time on her couch. Abbygail Lawton / Facebook Lawton was finally found by police later that night, hours after two police officers left her home. Abbygail Lawton/Facebook
Lawton, “disgusted by their behaviour”, lodged an official complaint with GMP, adding that the officers’ actions had caused her “mental trauma and distrust” towards the police.
A department spokesperson told the BBC that while it was “understandable” that releasing the CCTV footage “without explanation could undermine public confidence”, the two officers did not breach any law enforcement rules.
“They remained at the scene primarily to protect the female in case she returned home,” GMP said.
Lawton, “disgusted by their behaviour”, lodged an official complaint with GMP, adding that the officers’ actions had caused her “mental trauma and distrust” towards the police. Abbygail Lawton/Facebook
“Officers were spoken to and understood that although the television had been left on and the dumbbells outside, they should have refrained from watching or using them while deployed at the scene.”
However, the force’s Professional Standards Division said the couple “should reflect and learn from the allegation”.