The police watchdog will take “no further action” in relation to a complaint made about officers during the disappearance of nursing student Owami Davies now that she has been found safe and well.
A mandatory death or serious injury (DSI) referral had been made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after it emerged that officers spoke to Ms Davies on the day she was reported missing.
Ms Davies, a 24-year-old student nurse at King’s College London, was found in Hampshire on Tuesday after being reported missing by her family more than six weeks before.
During the police investigation, five men were arrested – two on suspicion of murder and three on suspicion of kidnap – but were all released on bail.
It came to light earlier this week that the Metropolitan Police had contact with Ms Davies on Wednesday 6 July at Clarendon Road, Croydon.
Officers were called to the location because of concerns for the welfare of a woman. The contact took place on the same day that Ms Davies had been reported missing to her local force, Essex Police.
However, at the time of the attendance, she was not marked as a missing person on national police systems.
In addition, it was not until 13 July that, during the course of the subsequent missing person investigation, that it was confirmed the woman that officers had spoken to was Ms Davies.
The IOPC said the DSI referral was made about the situation after the force announced it had made arrests on suspicion of her murder.
However, a spokesperson for the police watchdog added: “Given that Owami Davies has now been found safe and we have not received information from the force that Ms Davies has suffered any serious injuries, the referral does not meet the criteria for a DSI referral.
“We have advised the Met that it is invalid and, therefore, we will be taking no further action,” they said.
In a separate statement today, the Metropolitan Police said the case would be reviewed, as was usual for “significant cases”, to “learn and improve”. This would be done alongside colleagues from Essex Police.
The Met also defended its handling of the case and rejected suggestions that the force’s response was influenced by a racial bias.
It said that any commentary that “suggests our response to Owami Davies’ disappearance was insufficient or motivated by a racial bias is unsubstantiated and based on speculation”.
“It does a disservice to the tireless work, over many weeks, of the officers involved,” the statement added.
It claimed this was the “biggest missing person investigation conducted by the Met this year and among the biggest in recent years”.
“It involved a significant number of officers including specialist detectives with expertise in complex cases,” said the Met in the statement.
“We are very pleased that their extraordinary efforts, with the assistance of the public and the press who shared our appeals, resulted in Owami being found.”
Meanwhile, King’s College London issued a statement in which it said it was “delighted” that she had been found safe and well.
“We know what a relief this will be for Owami’s family and friends, and the King’s community,” it said.
Recognising that it had been a “very difficult time”, the university said support services continued to be available for both students and staff.