Police failed to record a report of concern for a vulnerable man who warned staff he was feeling suicidal and was later found dead.
The body of Darran Everett, 25, was found in Musselburgh harbour on 13 October, 2017 nearly 24 hours after he was last seen alive.
In a report published yesterday, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) said custody staff had failed to correctly fill out a prisoner escort form to highlight Mr Everett was suicidal before transferring him into the care of private contractor G4S.
He had been arrested after causing a disturbance at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on 10 October and taken to St Leonard’s police station where he told police staff he was suicidal.
A Vulnerability Assessment Form was filled out and Mr Everett was released on bail the following day. He then returned to his partner’s flat, and was last seen at around 7pm.
The Pirc said Mr Everett’s partner had contacted Police Scotland at 11:16pm when he failed to return home and asked if he was in custody. She was told he had not been arrested and she did not report him missing.
The following morning, she phoned police again and told them he had gone missing the previous day, believing he might be in custody.
A National Custody Database check confirmed he had been in custody earlier in the week and the custody sergeant advised the call handler he may have been remanded in prison.
The call handler relayed the information to Mr Everett’s partner and advised her to contact his solicitor. The handler incorrectly told her the man was safe and well.
Police were initially unable to identify the 25-year-old’s body on 13 October despite the presence of a distinctive “Ninja” tattoo on his stomach.
The following day, Mr Everett’s partner again called police, to report him missing.
While she was on the phone, Mr Everett’s brother contacted Police Scotland to also report his concerns and provided a description which included the tattoo.
As a result, a “concern for person” incident was raised and transferred to the Area Control Room which resulted in the body found at Musselburgh harbour being identified at that of Mr Everett.
Chief Superintendent Mark Hargreaves, of Police Scotland’s professional standards department, said: “Police Scotland recognises the findings of the Pirc’s report and can confirm the service has reviewed its process for dealing with calls about people in custody and has circulated a revised process to address this matter.”