Abduction case officers face action
Officers from the Metropolitan Police are to face misconduct proceedings after mistakenly handing over a toddler to a stranger, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.
Audrey Nyanol, aged 18 months at the time of the incident on December 17 last year, was handed over to a woman believed to be a member of her family.
But the woman police gave the child to - Ania Mulange - had never seen the 18-month-old before.
Two police constables and three police sergeants will face hearings for failures of duty, an IPCC spokeswoman said.
The mistake prompted an extensive search with the toddler being found safe and well three days later. Mulange was later convicted of abduction.
A Met spokesman said: "The MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) regrets the mistakes that were made on that day and apologise to the family of Audrey Nyanol for the distress, worry and upset that was caused as a direct result of the police shortcomings that led to Audrey being abducted.
"Whilst apologising, the MPS would also like it to be made very clear that the female involved in the abduction, Ms Mulange, did not have any previous knowledge of or relationship with any member of Audrey's family, and that no member of the family was responsible in any way for the events that led to Audrey's abduction."
The incident unfolded after the baby's mother Cynthia Boakye was arrested at her home for alleged immigration offences and taken to Walworth Police Station in south-east London. No-one was at the address who could look after the child so she was also taken to the police station.
Arrangements were then made for a relative to come to the police station and collect Audrey. Later that morning a woman came into the station's reception area and after being spoken to by officers was handed the child.
It was not until an hour later, when the intended carer came to the station, that the mistake was realised.