‘This level of detail is deeply disturbing’: MPs and campaigners slam Lancashire Police for revealing missing Nicola Bulley’s battles with alcohol – and demand ‘how will this help the investigation?’
- Police revealed that missing Nicola Bulley had ‘significant issues’ with alcohol
- A dive expert says if he knew she was ‘high risk’ he would have altered his search
Lancashire Police have been facing backlash and accusations of victim blaming after publicly revealing that the missing Nicola Bulley had ‘issues with alcohol’.
The mother-of-two vanished while walking her dog along a stretch of the River Wyre in St Michael’s, Lancashire, on January 27.
Nearly three weeks after her disappearance, the police force announced the 45-year-old suffered ‘significant issues’ with alcohol brought on by ‘ongoing struggles with menopause’.
The decision to reveal her personal struggles outraged many, with some blasting the announcement as ‘deeply troubling’ and others questioned how it helps the investigation.
Initially the police said Ms Bulley had ‘vulnerabilities’ and then later revealed more details in an ‘unusual step’ – saying they felt it was ‘important to clarify’.
Lancashire Police have been criticised for revealing that missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley had ‘issues with alcohol’
The 45-year-old vanished while walking her dog along a stretch of the River Wyre (pictured) in St Michael’s, Lancashire, on January 27
Labour MP for Walthamstow questioned the decision to publicly reveal details about Ms Bulley’s personal life.
She tweeted: ‘The decision to disclose this level of detail on a missing person’s private life, with no evidence that this is assisting in finding her, is deeply troubling.
‘The police need to be much clearer as to why any of this helps find Nicola Bulley or support this investigation.’
Silkie Carlo, of Big Brother Watch, said the decision to broadcast Ms Bulley’s health issues and hormone status is ‘serious invasion of her privacy with no obvious benefits for the investigation’
Many social media users felt the decision highlighted the police’s treatment of women – which has recently been under scrutiny following high-profile cases involving former officers such as Wayne Couzens and David Carrick.
Jamie Klingler, Co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, said that she ‘Was not invested in the Nicola Bulley story until the police started using her as a shield to protect their own incompetence.
‘This is not how to treat a missing woman. It is cruel to her babies and to her. And they do it all the time.’
Director of the Good Law Project, Jo Maugham, asked how the police will justify their decision if the mother-of-two is found alive.
He tweeted: ‘If, as we all hope, Nicola Bulley is found alive how will the police justify a breach of her confidentiality to, what looks like, manage their own reputation?’
Many social media users criticised the decision to reveal personal details about Ms Bulley
While, Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton 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.’
It comes as a diving expert involved in the search for Nicola Bulley said she ‘could have ended up in the sea’ after police revealed she was ‘high risk’.
Peter Faulding said his method for searching the stretch of the River Wyre in St Michael’s would have changed had he been told about Ms Bulley’s vulnerabilities.
The forensic search expert previously said the mother-of-two could not be in the river, after conducting a probe under the premise she had slipped in.
However, he now believes she could be much further down stream if she intended to take her own life.
In response to the police’s second announcement of the day, Peter Faulding tweeted: ‘I can confirm that my usually trusted team and I were not passed this crucial information during our search, which would have changed search strategy.’
He told Jeremy Kyle on TalkTV that: ‘If she had jumped in, intended to take her own life or walk off, that would change my whole plan.
‘She could have ended up in the sea.’
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