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Manchester cops watched Netflix at missing woman’s home: BBC

Two police officers working on the case of a missing British woman were reportedly arrested while relaxing on a sofa watching Netflix.

CCTV footage showed Greater Manchester Police enjoying a downtime at her Wigan home while Abby Gale Lawton suffered a mental health crisis.

One of the officers was also seen doing a few reps using a dumbbell set while his partner appeared to be scrolling through his phone.

“They think they’re there to help you, but they’re actually doing it. It doesn’t make sense,” Lawton said. he told the BBC.

“You expect the police to work hard and protect people, but that’s not what you expect. It’s not very professional.”

Two police officers were called to the 21-year-old’s home on January 3 after concerns arose for her welfare.

A department spokesperson told the BBC that the officer, who has not been identified, was ordered to remain on the premises in case Lawton returned, while other officers searched for the missing woman. He said he conducted an extensive search.

CCTV footage showed two Greater Manchester police officers enjoying a break at the Wigan home of Abby Gale Lawton, who was experiencing a mental health crisis last month. Abby Gail Lawton/Facebook
One of the officers was also seen doing a few reps using a dumbbell set while his partner appeared to be scrolling through his phone. Abby Gail Lawton/Facebook

But Lawton, who told the outlet she had disappeared before during mental health crises, said officers were waiting for her in their cruiser after searching her home.

She said she had been alerted to movements at her home on a CCTV app and, after arriving at 10pm, saw two men using her belongings while watching TV.

Lawton said they hung out until 1:30 a.m., more than two hours before other officers found her.

She was arrested for wasting police time and reportedly detained for 12 hours.

Lawton said she had disappeared before during mental health crises, but after officers cleaned her home, they waited for her in the cruiser instead of spending time on the couch. It is said that Abby Gail Lawton/Facebook
Lawton was eventually found by police late at night, hours after two officers left his home. Abby Gail Lawton/Facebook

Mr Lawton was “disgusted by their actions” and lodged a formal complaint with GMP, adding that the officers’ actions had caused him “emotional trauma and distrust” of the police.

A department spokesperson told the BBC that while it was “understandable” that releasing CCTV images “could undermine public trust and confidence without explanation”, the two officers breached law enforcement standards. He said he had not.

“They remained in place primarily in case the woman returned to her home address,” GMP said.

Mr Lawton was “disgusted by their actions” and lodged a formal complaint with GMP, adding that the officers’ actions had caused him “emotional trauma and distrust” of the police. Abby Gail Lawton/Facebook

“Officers were told that the TV was left on and the dumbbells were left unattended, but that they should have refrained from watching TV or using dumbbells while they were on the scene. I understand.”

But the force’s Professional Standards branch said the pair should “reflect on the charges and learn from them”.

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