Police accused of being ‘slow on the uptake’ in Amber Peat search

Police at the scene on Westfield Lane in Mansfield after a body was found in the search for missing Amber Peat.
Police at the scene on Westfield Lane in Mansfield after a body was found in the search for missing Amber Peat.

Hope has turned to anger on the Ladybrook estate in Mansfield after a body was found last night, which is thought to be that of missing teenager, Amber Peat.

Police announced the discovery of the body in a hedgerow, next to a patch of grass between Westfield Lane and Parliament Road.

Although a formal identification is yet to be made, police have called off the search suggesting it is that of the missing 13-year-old. Police say there are no suspicious circumstances.

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However, there is anger directed towards the police from those in the community who helped search for the teenager, with accusations that they were ‘slow on the uptake’.

Groups of residents gathered on Sunday, hours after Amber was reported missing, to begin searching.

Using the Ladybrook pub as the hub of the operation, hundreds of men, women and children, spent Sunday, Monday and most of Tuesday knocking on doors, handing out leaflets, searching parks, woods and scrubland for any trace of Amber.

But many are aggrieved at what they saw as a delayed reaction from the police.

Danielle Blount, who helped organise the community search parties, said: “Everybody who I have spoken to all have the same opinion, the police were slow on the uptake.

“I asked one officer why it took so long for them to get involved, but they did not answer.

“We wanted an authority figure to organise us, but they were not there quick enough and did not have enough presence.”

Just hours before the body was found, police had thanked those who had gathered at the The Ladybrook pub for another evening or searching, but said they would be heading up the operation from that point.

Many, who had spent the previous days combing the area, were unhappy with that announcement.

Danielle added: “We were not just going to go home while there was a little girl still out there. A lot of us wanted to keep looking, so that’s what we did.”

In response, police issued a recent statement saying they worked ‘tirelessly’.

Supt Matt McFarlane said: “From the moment Amber was reported missing our teams worked tirelessly alongside the community to try and find her.

“Over 400 officers and staff, including those from our five neighbouring East Midlands forces, were looking for her.

“Sadly this was not the outcome that any of us were hoping for.”

A formal identification and postmortem of the body is being conducted this afternoon.