Questions over police handling of Saima Ahmed disappearance

Saima Ahmed. Picture: Police Scotland/PA Wire
Saima Ahmed. Picture: Police Scotland/PA Wire

A POLICE officer is facing possible disciplinary action over the mysterious death of a missing librarian whose body was found on an Edinburgh golf course 400 miles from her home.

The unnamed Acting Detective Chief Inspector with the Metropolitan Police will be summoned to a misconduct meeting next month over his role in the search for Saima Ahmed, following an investigation by the police watchdog.

The 36-year-old’s body was found near Edinburgh’s Gogarburn Golf Club in January 2016 - she was reported missing from her home in Wembley, London, in August 2015.

To date, no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death have been discovered, and her family say they have no idea why she would have travelled to the Scottish capital.

The Independent Police Complains Commission (IPCC) said it is believed the officer has a case to answer for misconduct “for failing to pursue lines of enquiry arising out of Saima’s last known sighting or document a rationale for not doing so”.

This may have been a breach of his professional standards, the watchdog said.

It means the officer will attend a meeting next month to decide on his actions and any subsequent sanctions.

The seriousness of the allegation would result in additional training or advice, rather than a dismissal, if it was found the officer had a case to answer.

The IPCC also found the initial call handling response was appropriate and officers were sent to visit the family quickly.

However, there appear to have been inconsistencies and omissions in the recording of information at this early stage.

Some relevant details were therefore unavailable to investigators and this affected the investigation and its risk assessments. Two police constables will face unsatisfactory performance procedures in relation to these matters.

IPCC commission-delegate Colin Dewar said: “The IPCC investigation into how the Metropolitan Police handled Saima Ahmed’s disappearance formed the opinion that, in places, officers may not have met the levels required by their professional standards.

“It is important that improvements are made for future investigations and that the officers will be accountable for their actions.”

Ms Ahmed is thought to have travelled by train from Wembley to Edinburgh on August 30.

Police believe she died close to the time she disappeared but post-mortem examinations have resulted in an ‘’unascertainable’’ cause of death.

She had no known links to Edinburgh and her relatives were unaware of any friends or contacts she might have had in the area, or any plans to travel to Scotland.