POLICE searching for missing mum Nicola Bulley have shown “shocking naivety”, according to an ex-detective.
Peter Bleksley, a former undercover cop and star of TV show Hunted, criticised the way information about the 45-year-old’s disappearance has been released to the public.
4Nicola Bulley vanished while out walking her dog on January 27Credit: instagram4Ex-cop Peter Bleksley said police searching for the 45-year-old have shown ‘shocking naivety’Nicola was last seen walking her springer spaniel Willow close to the River Wyre in St Michael’s, Lancashire, on the morning of January 27.
Extensive water and land searches have been carried out for the mother-of-two, but there has been no sign of her.
Almost three weeks into the investigation, cops revealed Nicola had battled “significant issues with alcohol” as a result of menopause.
Lancashire Police also said they’d been called to the family’s home after “a report of concern for welfare” on January 10.
These factors, partly identified by her partner Paul Ansell, meant she was classified as a high risk missing person.
Her relatives later disclosed she suffered significant side effects brought on by the perimenopause, including brain fog and restless sleep.
She was taking HRT to help with her symptoms but subsequently came off the medication after experiencing intense headaches, they said via a police statement.
Detectives immediately faced huge backlash for sharing the details in this way.
Speaking on TalkTV last night, Bleksley, who worked for the Met, waded in on the controversy.
He said: “I don’t think anybody’s going to be covering Lancashire Constabulary with great praise over any of this.
“In terms of communicating with the public and the media, they have got this catastrophically wrong.
“When they’ve tried to suppress speculation, all they’ve done is fuel it.
“[Wednesday] was utterly ludicrous when they said there were private and personal matters which were the vulnerabilities around Nicola.
“Six hours later they have to do a complete and very embarrassing U-turn.”
He continued: “It’s been catastrophic from start to finish and 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.
“It really has been very ham-fisted. Virtually at every turn they’ve got it wrong.
“With regard to the whole release of this information, I think if the police and the family had endeavoured to keep these matters secret so to speak.
“There’s a shocking naivety on behalf of the police. Nobody really had any great vision about this.”
The force held a preference on February 15 during which Nicola’s “vulnerabilities” were disclosed.
Initially, detectives said they would not elaborate on the “personal and private” specifics as it would upset her already distressed family.
But hours later, a statement published on Facebook stated Nicola had struggled with alcohol due to the menopause.
It’s been catastrophic from start to finish and this case will be remembered for years. Peter Bleksley
Many have questioned whether this was necessary and have branded the approach misogynistic, “deeply troubling” and victim-blaming.
Broadcaster Fern Britton, 65, said in a tweet: “I am uncomfortable with the latest news suggesting that Nicola Bulley has an issue with alcohol and menopause.
“The undertone is that she maybe ‘a bit unstable’ or perhaps even ‘not in her right mind.’
“Too easy to write a woman off like this. What lies behind it?”
Labour MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy added: “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.”
And Nicola’s own cousin said: “It’s wrong what’s been put out there.
“All of mine and my wife’s family think it’s terrible and wrong what’s been said.”
4St Michael’s on Wyre resident Helen Lee tying a ribbon on a bridge in the village4Police at a caravan site close to where the mum-of-two vanishedCredit: PA
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk