Nicola Bulley cops referred to police watchdog over visit before disappearance

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    The police force investigating the disappearance of missing mum Nicola Bulley have referred themselves to a police watchdog.

    The Independent Office for Police Conduct confirmed the referral regarding contact the force had with Ms Bulley prior to her disappearance.

    The news comes after Lancashire Police received criticism for sharing personal information about Ms Bulley, the Mirror reports.

    READ MORE: Nicola Bulley police search caravan site close to bench where phone was found

    Mortgage advisor Ms Bulley was said by the force to have had "vulnerabilities" during a press conference, disclosing details of them just hours later.

    In an unprecedented step, Lancashire Police said she had suffered from "significant" problems with alcohol brought on by menopause.

    It also said that police had been called to her home 17 days before her disappearance and that the problems had resurfaced recently.

    Lancashire Police have reportedly now been asked by the Home Office to explain why this information was delivered to the public on Wednesday, February 15.

    The visit to her home allegedly came after a "report of concern for welfare".

    Police said the visit had come "as a result" of "significant issues with alcohol which were brought on by her ongoing struggles with the menopause".

    The disclosure has been slammed by MPs and former police officers alike.

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    Taking to Twitter, LBC presenter Ben Kentish tweeted: "EXCL: The Home Office has demanded an explanation from Lancashire Police over the decision to release personal details about Nicola Bulley yesterday."

    Speaking to Talk TV on Wednesday 15, former Metropolitan Police Detective Peter Bleksley said: "In terms of communicating with the public and the media, Lancashire Constabulary have got this catastrophically wrong.

    "Today isn't just the first occasion when they've tried to suppress speculation when all they've done is fuel it.

    "This case will be remembered for years. It will be used on senior officer training courses as the finest example of how not to communicate."

    Tory MP Alicia Kearns tweeted: "I am deeply uncomfortable with the police releasing Nicola Bulley’s so-called 'vulnerabilities' on menopause & alcohol.

    "I struggle to ascertain how this will assist Police in their search & investigations. I do see how it would assist those wishing to victim-blame or diminish."

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